Panola integral part of St. Jude event

Published 11:18 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Batesville, Sardis leading support for 50th Bass Classic tournament

One of the nation’s oldest charity bass tournaments is back.  The 50th Anniversary St. Jude Open Bass Classic will take place at Sardis Lake on May 28.

“For the first time Batesville and Sardis are co-sponsors of the St. Jude Bass Classic,” said Mayor Hal Ferrell. “Dedicated volunteers Lane and Steve Cook began helping in 2007, and have been running these events since 2019. The fishing tournaments are always a big boost to our local economy and Batesville is proud to be a supporter.”

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The Bass Classic has raised over $5M for St. Jude Children’s Hospital since it was started in the early 1970s by a group of volunteers from the Memphis Bass Club, and has seen thousands of sportsmen turn their passion for fishing into helping children battle cancer.

It began when a club member’s daughter was being treated at St. Jude, and he and his friends decided to raise money for the hospital with an all-volunteer effort, to help it continue being a place of hope for children and families in their desperate hour. 

Still going strong in its 50th edition, the tournament continues to welcome anglers from all over the nation, as it’s done for thousands of sporting fishermen over past decades.

“Sardis Lake has been synonymous with St.  Jude as far back as I can remember,” said Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar. “I fished the St. Jude with my friend Dana Jackson more than thirty years ago. Through all those years the classic has been able to count on Batesville and Sardis for their support.”

“The Panola Partnership Ambassadors have been there to serve coffee and snacks before launch and help contribute to this event. I’m proud our county is part of a fifty year tradition of helping kids battle cancer,” Azar said.

With the excitement already brewing for this special year, strictly enforced rules and important information have been made available online for those planning to take part in this charity tournament, and also sent by mail to past participants and attendees.   

Registration forms can also be found at Performance Marine in Sardis and Boat Warehouse Show in Southaven.  

Cash awards include $10,000 for first place and a total of 25 places paid, with an altogether payout of $25,075, based on the participation of 125 teams.    

Official registration for competing teams will be held at the Batesville Civic Center on May 27, 1-3 p.m., although a discounted fee of $230 per team is offered if completed before April 30.  

An extensive list of further rules and related information are available on the SJBC website, as well as numerous photos of past tournaments.  

Another related May 28 event, supporting the concerted fight against childhood catastrophic diseases, is Fishin’ for the Kids at St. Jude.  The free event for youth, ages 5 through 13, has raised roughly $2M in over 10 years, and registration deadline is May 9.  

The Classic also has an impressive list of corporate and Gold Level sponsors, including Landers Auto Group, Yamaha, Louisiana Friends Against Childhood Cancer, and Memphis Sound Lab.  

Blasting off the weekend will be the Annual St. Jude Kayak Bass Open at Enid Lake on May 27, and a welcome addition to a growing list of related events is the St. Jude Bass N Cat, which will take place in Florence, AL, with a $5,000 first place prize.