Nebraska TBF Junior State Championship held on May 19th Czechland Lake

Nebraska Juniors had their state tournament at Czechland Lake on May 19th. We had 5 teams compete in our state event. It was a stormy start to the morning with rain pretty much all day. Several of the kids caught fish some were just too short. We had 3 teams weigh in fish. In 3rd place we had Taylor and Hunter Sonnenfelt with 2.26 lbs. In Second Noah Bishop and his partner Carter Vrana with 6.77 lbs and winning and qualifying for Junior Worlds was Ashton and Keaton Kuchar with 11.69 lbs. I was glad to see these kids stick out the rain and fish!


When District 8 announced the Semifinals tournament was going to be held on Lake Okoboji in 2022, there was a lot of excitement from a lot of great anglers.  Lake Okoboji located in the Northwest corner of Iowa is arguably one of the best lakes in the Midwest, if not the nation.  A lake where multiple 20lb bags are weighed no matter the season or tournament size, and sometimes a 20lb bag isn’t even enough to crack the top 5. 

This weekend was no different.  On Day 1, Nick Siepker sacked up 26.92 pounds to take the lead over Chard Garton who weighed in 23.01.  This year Garton made the jump to the front end of the boat after winning The 2023 Bass Federation National Championship as a Co-Angler.  Rounding out the top 3 was former college angler, Charlie DeShazer bringing in 21.40.  But a stacked field was hot on their trail:

  1. Kent Priel – 21.40, 1998 Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
    5. Jared Knuth – 20.60, 2013 Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
    6. Hunter Suchsland – 20.25 – 2023 Bassmaster College National Championship, 10thplace finisher

Strong storms moved in overnight, but cleared just in time for takeoff.  The weather threw some of our top anglers a curveball, while others were able to keep the pedal down, and some continued to climb the leaderboard.

Charlie DeShazer brought in 17.52 to finish 6thoverall.  Joe “The Zark” McKay came charging from behind weighing 24.89lbs anchored by a 7.78lb largemouth to finish 5th overall.  Hunter Suchsland stayed consistent and brought in 19.53lbs to finish 4.  Jordan Hirt, the 2022 Bass Federation National Champion weighed 19.92lbs to finish 3rd overall. 

With the final 2 left, Nick Siepker was not able to replicate his day 1 total, and weighed only 15.28lbs on day 2. This left the door open for Chad Garton.  Garton also could not replicate his day 1 total but still weighed a solid 18.43lbs of fish.  Garton’s two day total was 41.44lbs.  In the end only .76lbs separated the two anglers, but Garton was unable to close the gap with Siepker’s two day total weighing 42.20lbs and winning the District 8, 2023 Semi-finals.

On the co-angler side, Iowa High School State Champion Ways Raasch won District 8, 2023 Semi-finals with 31.57lbs, besting the closest angler by over 2.5 pounds! 

  1. Hunter Fry – 28.96
    3. Mark Moorman – 27.67
    4. Jon Small – 25.98
    5. Hunter King – 25.97
    6. Brad Rockford – 24.98

The following anglers were the top placing finishers in their state and will be going to The Bass Federation National Championship in 2024.

Angler: Nick Siepker
Co-Angler: Mark Moorman

South Dakota
Angler: Troy Diede
Co-Angler: Terry Laverack

Angler: Joe “The Zark” McKay
Co-Angler: Ways Raasch

TBF Nebraska was the host state, and would like to thank your sponsors.  Fort Randall Hotel and Casino, Big Stone Lake Chamber of Commerce, Oak Hills Outdoors.  The weigh-master and MC was Bob Harris with South West Iowa Fishing Teams, who made the tournament one of the premier events in the Midwest.  Thank you Bob!

Nebraska TBF Junior State Championship COMING SOON!

The 2023 Nebraska TBF Junior State Championship will be held on Sunday, June 18 on Maple Creek. For more information CLICK HERE

It’s a Family Affair at the Nebraska Qualifiers!

Many of us became hooked on fishing because of our fathers, and many of our tournament partners are our siblings. Family plays a big part in the outdoors and fishing and the TBF Nebraska Qualifiers are no different with a father son duo and brothers taking home some hardware and cash!

Qualifier 1, held on Lake Francis Case was won by Jeremy Sorensen of Fremont, NE weighing in 8.57 lbs on the stingy lake.  Jeremy also caught a big bass of 3.13 and was Ranger Cup qualified, taking home $1,225.00.  Sam Grace came in 2nd with 8.52, and 3rdplace with 7.87 was Kent Priel, the Lashley Land Pro. 

On the non-boater side, Mark Halverson brought 9.49 of smallmouth with a 3.50 anchor to take home first place on the non-boater side along with big fish honors.  Mark took home $745 for his hard work.  Brian Sorensen came in 2nd with 6.51, whose brother Jeremy won the Qualifier 1 boater division.  3rd place non-boater went to TBF Nebraska newcomer Zach Edwards with 6.23.

The secret must have gotten out because Qualifier 2 was won by Marshall Halverson, the son of Qualifier 1 non-boater champion.  Marshall brought 9.67 along with a 3.27 big fish to the scales to take home $1,150.00.  2nd place was Nick Siepker with 9.37 and 3rd place was Chris Miller the Oak Hill Outdoor pro with 8.48.

But once again, Mark Halverson, father of Qualifier 2 boater division champion, bested the field on the non-boater side bringing in 8.43 pounds with a 3.58 big fish to take home another $745.  2nd was Chad Garton with 6.68, and 3rd was Brian Forcier with 6.66.  

Congrats to all of our anglers and huge shout out to our title sponsor, Fort Randall Hotel and Casino.  Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to pay back 92% of the field!

We will see you in September back at Francis Case for the National Semifinals!