The University of Nebraska bass fishing club and Cabela’s teamed up this season for what team captain Kyle Branecki called the best sponsorship contract in all of college fishing.
Cabela’s initiated the deal after hearing about the Husker Bass Anglers, which had only minor sponsorships and an unreliable boat-use agreement, last year. Terms of the Cabela’s sponsorship included use of a boat provided by the Ranger dealership based out of the company’s La Vista, Neb., retail store, where the boat was on display between tournaments.
Cabela’s also designed the University of Nebraska boat wrap and supplied the trolling motor, electronics, lures and team uniforms, while Evinrude provided the engine and Geico took care of the boat insurance.
“It only seemed right that the University of Nebraska bass club be supported by Cabela’s, which was founded in Nebraska and has its corporate headquarters and three retail stores in the Cornhusker State,” said Chris Sprangers, Cabela’s marketing manager. “More importantly, anytime our sponsorship dollars can go toward keeping young people involved in outdoor recreation, we’re all for it.”
Branecki, who will graduate in August and fished in his final college tournament last week, credited the sponsorship with the team’s success this season. The Husker Bass Anglers finished in the top 15 in three of the four FLW College Fishing tournaments it entered.
“I know [our success] wasn’t just a coincidence,” Branecki said. “Instead of worrying about money for tackle or securing a boat for a tournament, I was able to focus on studying the lake we would be fishing.”
Before receiving the Cabela’s sponsorship, the team borrowed boats from another sponsor, but availability wasn’t a guarantee. Branecki said the partnership with Cabela’s was convenient and made tournament preparation less stressful.
“Our boat was always there when we needed it,” he said, “Without our boat and the electronics Cabela’s put on it for us, we wouldn’t have found the spot which gained us the lead on day one of the tournament last week.”
The Husker Bass Anglers led after the first day of fishing, catching all but one of their five bass from a single sweet spot, in the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake June 24-25. After day two of the tournament, the team landed in the top 20.
Even after the drop in the standings, it was a dream come true for Branecki, who had looked forward to fishing Kentucky Lake his entire life. And he said it may not have been possible without Cabela’s support.
Now Branecki will pursue his next dream – professional tournament fishing.
“It is a long shot and many people just don’t make it,” he said. “But right now I have no tie downs in my life, so I am going to go for it and hope for the best.”