FLIPPIN, Ark. -University of South Carolina’s Hampton Anderson and Chris Blanchette became the first team to qualify for the 2016 Ranger Cup University Team of the Year Challenge after winning the FLW College Fishing National Championship on March 19. The anglers’ swing-for-the-fence approach on Lake Keowee paid dividends with the team bringing in a three-day total of 38 pounds, 15 ounces.
The team won a $30,000 prize package, including a new Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower outboard engine plus an automatic berth for Anderson to compete in the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama. Anderson secured the Forrest Wood Cup slot after winning a fish-off against Blanchette and will compete for the $300,000 first-place prize, Aug. 4-7.
As a Ranger Cup University-qualified team, Anderson and Blanchette added $2,000 contingency money to their winner’s purse and qualified to compete for the 2016 Ranger Cup University Team of the Year Challenge. The University of South Carolina teammates will be matched against the Ranger Cup-qualified team with the highest place of finish in the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship in a made-for-TV fish off that will be televised nationally on “Americana Outdoors.” Both teams will receive a grand-prize package that includes travel, lodging and meals, as well as the opportunity to compete for cash and prizes from fully rigged Ranger boats.
“It will definitely be a good time. Whoever wins the BoatUS will be great fishermen too so I imagine we will put on a pretty good show,” said Anderson of the upcoming Ranger Cup University Challenge. “I didn’t have any plans to turn pro, but these opportunities are going to make me explore my prospects to turn pro. We’ll see how I do in the Forrest Wood Cup. I can’t wait.”
Modeled after the Ranger Cup, the most lucrative contingency rewards in the industry, Ranger Cup University is the first program designed exclusively for collegiate anglers and is open to those fishing in either FLW- or BoatUS-affiliated competitions. Signup is free, regardless of which brand of boat the anglers own. To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to clothing and logo requirements. As part of the Ranger Cup University program, participants will be able to receive specially discounted tournament gear through Gemini Custom Apparel, with no artwork or set-up fees. Through this partnership, Ranger Cup University anglers can purchase fully customized tournament jerseys for as low as $48.
For complete program guidelines and details on Ranger Cup University, including payout, clothing requirements and informational videos, go online to www.rangerboats.com/staticPages/includes/RangerCupUniversity.cfm.