2023 HKB TURKEY BOWL | RECAP
The 2023 Batesville Tool & Die HKB Turkey Bowl was one for the record books! Not only did we have a record turnout, but we also had the largest 3-fish limit in turkey bowl history and a new record set for big bass. Not to mention, a literal van load of food donations! Stick with us as we recap the event below.
The 5th Annual HKB Turkey Bowl was an absolute success, on so many levels and you could even say it was our best one yet! Once the dust settled and some much-needed sleep was had, I was able to look back on this event and realize just how amazing is truly was.
The amount of support for this event from the sponsors to the HKB community as a whole, was truly amazing and inspiring. Over 15 companies partnered with us on this event and 48 anglers showed up to make this the biggest Turkey Bowl yet. We had a total of 16 teams on Sullivan Lake Saturday competing for the coveted Turkey Bowl Champions Trophies.
The anglers took off in the morning in a 3 Stage Shotgun launch, with one angler from each team per stage. I'm happy to say no kayaks were sunk, nor were any motors blown up. In all seriousness, the staged launch brought a different and fun aspect to the event while keeping anglers safe and allowing teams to get at least one angler to their desired starting spots.
To say the lake was packed and fishing was tough would be a drastic understatement, but yet throughout the course of the day, anglers shared water, fishing tips, caught up with fishing buds, and even made some new ones, all while competing for a pot of over $2300 and thousands in prizes and trophies.
So Who took home all the Cash and Prizes?
Let's start with the Xtreme Clean Lunker Board - Paying out a $100 Cash Prize to Big Bass, in addition to a prize bundle from our event partners and a custom cherry red Turkey Bowl Big Bass KetchX Board.
Xtreme Clean Lunker Board Presented By Xtreme Clean Power Washing
With a new HKB Turkey Bowl Big Bass record, Bryan Sparks took home the Xtreme Clean Lunker honors with a 20.00" Sullivan Lake, Tank. Bryan landed this big largemouth bass within the first hour of the event and really set the tone for the rest of the day.
Killion Tile Dink Board (Smallest Fish Draw)
This year, in addition to the Big Bass leaderboard, we introduced a "Dink Board" thanks to Austin Killion of Killion Tile. For the Dink Leaderboard, anglers fishing in the event could submit a fish of any species under 12 inches caught during the tournament and be entered to win a $100 cash payout. The winner was selected by random draw from all entries.
And the winner was.... Ryan Becker with a 10" Sullivan Lake Crappie!
TOP 3 TEAMS
The battle was tight at the top this year with multiple teams in contention. All 3 Top 3 teams had a solid kicker in their 3 fish limits, the average size keeper was between 16 and 18 inches. Our champions led from beginning to end, but 2nd place went on a dramatic run in the final hours to eclipse our 3rd place finishers and make it interesting.
3RD PLACE | FMK - FULL METAL KAYAK
The team of Troy Stinson, Aaron Molinder, and Nate Goodwin put up one heck of a fight and was just one solid cull away from making a run at 1st. They got their day started with a 16.50," caught by Troy Stinson, shortly after 10 am. The team's next keeper was a 19.75" caught by Nate Goodwin. The final keeper they landed of the day filling out their limit was a 13.75 landed by Troy, giving them a 3-fish limit of 49.75.
FMK took home a sweet prize package from our event partners, plus a $343.00 payout!
2ND PLACE | JIGS & PIGS
Almost pulling out the last-minute upset was the 2022 HKB Turkey Bowl Champs, Jigs & Pigs. The former champion team looked slightly different this year, missing Tyler Atwell, who was under the weather. Filling in for Tyler, was 2023 HKB State Championship qualifier, Shane Partlow, who joined Aaron Wilson and Mark Howell.
The team struggled to find a bite all morning long, but like the champions they are, they didn't cave under the pressure. Going into the final two hours, the team had one keeper. A 14" largemouth landed by Mark Howell just before noon. Around 1:30, the team made a move focusing on a small stretch of rip rap where they found a group of bass, and over the next hour, they would land several fish on small square bills.
Their afternoon flurry gave them a 51.75" 3-fish limit, anchored by an 18" chunk caught by Aaron Wilson which moved them into to the 2nd place spot and brought them within 2 inches of the win. A missed opportunity in the final minutes would stop them short of the upset and seal the deal on their 2nd place finish.
Though they just missed out on hoisting up the trophies this year, they still went home with an awesome prize package from our partners and a $580 payout.
I'm Honored to announce, this team collectively donated their winnings back to help with our mission to feed families in need this Holiday Season! These men embody what this event is all about. We can't thank them enough for their support!
1ST PLACE | BASS GOBBLERS
Leading wire to wire was the team of Bryan Sparks, Austin Killion, and Brian Moore. Led by Bryan Sparks, the team posted a Turkey Bowl 3-Fish Limit record of 53.50 inches anchored by as we mentioned before, the Big Bass of the event, a 20.00 largemouth bass caught by Bryan Sparks.
The team jumped out to an early lead as Bryan landed a series of keepers early, fishing a shad pattern jackhammer around wood. Later in the day, the team would converge on a small patch of grass on the south side of the lake just off the dam, where they would find another flurry to round out their day and seal the deal on the Win.
In addition to the title of Turkey Bowl Champions and the Coveted custom Turkey Bowl trophies by Ketch Products, the team also went home with a killer prize package and a payout of more than $1300!
YAKRODS TOP INDIVIDUAL ANGLER | BRYAN SPARKS
Though the Turkey Bowl is a team event, we still award the Top Individual Angler as well.
This year YakRods stepped up in a big way with a Y-BFS Rod and Swag Package to go along with the custom Ketch X board and prize bundle. Taking home over $500 in prizes and the title of YAKRODS Top Individual Angler was Multi-time GRBY Champion & AOY, Bryan Spark!
As we mentioned before, Bryan Led his team to victory with a 3-Fish limit of 53.50 inches once again, anchored by the Xtreme Clean Lunker (Big Bass) a 20" Stud. This win comes on the heels of a runner-up finish in the 2023 HKB State Championship and his 2nd GRBY Championship a couple of weeks back. There is no doubt, Bryan is among an elite class of Hoosier Anglers
FLAMBEAU BAG OF BAITS WINNER | CORY RUCKER
This year we brought a GRBY tradition to the Turkey Bowl with our version of the "Bucket of Baits" draw. Anglers could enter to win a Flambeau Tactical Backpack full of baits by donating two baits of their own. We had a ton of anglers participate in this, filling the Flambeau bag with hundreds of dollars in baits and Cory Rucker was our lucky winner!
Turkey Bowl Food Drive
It wouldn't be the Turkey Bowl without the annual Food Drive and this year was a huge success. The picture above doesn't even do it justice. We had hundreds of canned and boxed goods as well as formula and cash donations, a literal van load!
These donations will provide families in need with items to make warm meals for their families during the holiday season. Items from the Food Drive will be going to Women's Shelters, food Pantries, recommended families, and local school food drives.
The community aspect of this event is what truly makes this event special and unlike any other. Seeing the sportsmanship, the fellowship, and the generosity of our community on display like we did this past weekend is something I hope every angler in this state will get to experience at some point as we carry on the tradition of the Turkey Bowl for hopefully, many years to come.
We can't thank all of you who participated in this event and the Food Drive enough!
Again, we can't thank all the brands and anglers that support this event enough and we truly appreciate you.
If you, your business, or a company you work with would like to get involved in the Turkey Bowl & Holiday Food Drive, Please contact us.
We would like to thank a few people who were key to helping pull this event off. In no specific order, we would like to say thanks to...
Adam Murray - Adam was huge in securing the product partnership with Flambeau and helping with the pre-tournament registration, the awards banquet, and food drive from checking in teams, to helping with post-event clean up and loading up food donations. Thank you Adam for all your hard work!
Chris Hillenbrand - Chris is always one of the first to volunteer, even getting off the water early to make sure he can assist with any task needed. This year, Chris helped us with our Flambeau Bag of Baits Donation and helping anglers find their prizes for their food donations. Thank you Chris for lending a hand!
Chip Romanovich - Chip also has been a big help year after year, this year not only did he help with pre-tournament registrations, but he also was pivotal in securing soda and water for both the awards ceremony and food drive from Pepsi. Thank you Chip for all you do!
Bryan Sparks - Bryan Sparks / Yakshak was kind enough to take a FeelFree Crate Bag out of inventory and donate it to the Food Drive prize table. Thank Bryan for your support!
Brian Hensley - Brian made a large donation of soft plastic baits from his business, Red Beard Plastics. His donation provided additional prizes for our top teams and anglers as well as prizes for our food drive. Thank You Brian for your time and baits!
Justin Kevitt- Our individual angler prize package wouldn't have been what it was without the help of Justin. Connecting us with YAKRODS and securing a bundle prize package from them including the all-new Y-BFS rod, which Justin himself helped design and test. Thank you Justin for helping provide the anglers with an awesome opportunity.
Austin Killion - Austin donated a $100 cash payout via his business, Killion Tile, for our Dink Leaderboard, which added a fun new element to the event and gave everyone a chance to win a little cash. Thank you, Austin!
Chad Hoover (KBF) - Chad continues to be an amazing partner of HKB and really the hole Hoosier kayak bass fishing community, helping with tournament management, prizes, and trophies. We can't thank Chad enough for his ongoing support of HKB and the sport as a whole.
Duke Westkamp (Ketch) - We have to, of course, thank Duke and the team at Ketch Products for their creativity and support. From the beginning, Duke and the team have been blowing us away with their Trophies and we're proud to have them on board. Thank you Duke and team!
Thomas McNulty - The Xtreme Clean Lunkerboard lives on! Since starting up his company, Xtreme Clean Power Washing, Thomas has been a supporter of this event and this year was no different, offering up a $100 Cash Prize for the Big Bass of the event. Thank you, Thomas for your continued support!