Two 14 Year Old Best Friends Are Crowdfunding Their College Bass Fishing Dreams

[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t’s the kind of story that childhood friends dream about around the campfire. It’s the eternal quest to get your first boat, and two Nebraskan best friends are determined to get one.

The all-American story begins near Omaha, where Rees Cudaback and Eli Leggett-Bogers have been fishing together for the past three years. After meeting on the baseball field, the duo quickly discovered their love for the diamond was dwarfed only by their shared love of fishing. Bass fishing, to be exact.

From camping trips to local tournaments and eventually to the 2014 Nebraska State Fishing Tournament at Merritt Reservoir, the boys love for angling grew. At Two Rivers, Nebraska both landed lunker 7lb largemouth on the same day. For Rees and Eli, it seemed, their dreams were growing as fast as their fish.

Those dreams have now grown into a full-fledged goal—to become collegiate bass fishermen. And to do that, they’ll need a high school club and a boat.

That’s why the boys are trying to raise $15,000 on the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe.

“At first we chose the amount of $15,000 kind of randomly,” they said. “But then we we actually started going through numbers for what we needed for our club, and we realized we were on target if not shy.  We don’t need everything new—we just need it functional to start.

We know we need at least one boat that can get us where we need to be quickly for tournaments and hopefully a couple other v-hulls for the club for teaching purposes keeping in mind safety. We also started making are own soft plastics, so we figured in the price of some molds as well as line and rods. Our goal for starting this club is to give students who may not otherwise have the opportunity at a scholarship an option. We would love to have the numerous high schools in Omaha start fishing clubs by 2016.”

The boys also plan to start manufacturing their own soft plastics, in conjunction with a plastics recycling program. They’ve contact Nebraska Game and Parks to see about starting a plastics recycling program at local lakes for old, spent baits. “If we can keep our local lakes clean and safe,” they said, “we know we will be catching fish for along time.”

It’s hard to fish a tournament from the dock.

The boys parents say they are proud of the boys for chasing their dreams. “They are both members of the Student Angler Federation,” says Kellie Cudaback,”and they are determined to turn their love of fishing into an active and successful school club.”

Cudaback says her son and his best friend decided to start crowdfunding in the Fall in the hopes of spending more time on the water in the Spring. “They figure if they do this during the colder months, they will have more active time for club fishing come next Spring,” she said.

Both boys intend to use the boat to help them compete in tournaments in Nebraska and beyond, with the ultimate goal of landing a place on a collegiate bass team. When pressed for a favorite school, the Rees and Eli admitted that, as local boys, they would love to go to The University of Nebraska, but they are also big LSU and Auburn fans.

So far, Rees and Eli have raised only $110 of their $15,000 goal. But the boys, it seems, are up for a challenge.

“It’s all about the challenge and knowing there is always something bigger out there,” says Eli. “It’s trying to know your water and what to use. It’s a game between you and the fish.—the fish just don’t know that their playing.”

The same could be said for life.

To follow the boys’ progress, be sure to check them out on Facebook. And while you’re at it, check out their GoFundMe page to make your own contribution. The boys would greatly appreciate any support you’re willing to give—they’ll even sew your patch or log onto their fishing shirts.