NORMAL, Ill. – Professional bass fisherman and Professional Anglers Association (PAA) board member Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville is hooked on Special Olympics. He is teaming up with Special Olympics Illinois and the Law Enforcement Torch Run to host the 6th Annual Chad Morgenthaler Bass Tournament presented by Jasper Engines & Transmissions on July 30 at Rend Lake in southern Illinois.
The tournament is a buddy team format, with a Beat the Pro fishing contest and chances to win great prizes. Professional angler and PAA President David Mansue will attend as celebrity guest to meet and greet anglers and participate in the Beat the Pros contest with Morganthaler.
The fishing tournament is limited to the first 150 boats to register. Entry is $175 per boat if registered by 5 p.m. July 22 which includes entry into the Big Bass pot. The team that still catches the Big Bass of the tournament will win a guaranteed $500, sponsored by Svada GM Motor Group. Entry fee is $200 per boat for those who register after 5 p.m. July 22. Entries will be taken until 6 p.m. Friday, July 29. Each angler receives a meal, T-shirt and goodie bag full of tackle. The first five years of the tournament raised more than $130,000 for Special Olympics Illinois.
Anglers and companies interested in getting involved in the tournament may contact Henson at 800-394-0562 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tournament sponsors and auction items are still needed for the tournament. Auction items may be sent in care of Jeff Henson at Special Olympics Illinois, 605 E. Willow St., Normal, IL 61761.
Registration for the tournament is from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. A pre-tournament meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the hotel. The meeting includes dinner, an auction of great fishing items and a meet and greet with the pro anglers. Rend Lake Sailboat Harbor is the launch site for the tournament.
Morgenthaler is a three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and has several FLW Top 10 tournament finishes. He became involved with Special Olympics Illinois in 2005 when he donated a day-long fishing trip as part of an online auction sponsored by the organization. Special Olympics athletes were on hand at Crab Orchard Lake in southern Illinois to see Morgenthaler and the auction winner begin their fishing trip. That experience led to Morgenthaler’s interest in hosting a charity tournament for the organization.
“I was inspired by the courage and enthusiasm shown by the Special Olympics athletes,” said Morgenthaler. “After talking more with Special Olympics Illinois, we agreed a fishing tournament would be an exciting way to introduce the organization and its athletes to a previously untapped audience of fishermen.”
Chad Morgenthaler, 44, has been a professional bass fisherman since 2002. He is sponsored by Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Phoenix Boats, Lunker Lure – Hawg Caller, Svanda GM Motor Group, Solar Bat, Power-Pole, Plano Tackle, Minn Kota, Element 21 Fishing, Optima Batteries, Fishouflage, Humminbird, Line & Lure, Mercury Outboard, BTS Protectant and El Grande Lures.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 6,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fund-raising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June.