Over the weekend, MLF pro Bobby Lane welcomed 380 kids to Camp Mack near Lake Kissimmee, Florida for the ninth annual Bobby Lane Cup. The competitors ranged in age from 9 to 17 and $26,000 in scholarships were awarded to 26 deserving students.
After another successful year and his biggest one yet, Lane is already making plans for next year’s Cup.
“This is something I live for every year,” Lane admitted. “I’m already thinking about 2020 and how to make next year bigger and better. Nine years ago, it was just something that kind of came together, but over the years it has really developed into something bigger.”
The Bobby Lane Cup bears the pro angler’s name, but Lane says it’s really a family affair. His father, Robert Lane, Sr., captains a boat every year for Bobby’s son, Robert Lane III. Bobby’s daughter, Alexis, also participated this year while his wife, Madeline, helped Bobby manage the entire operation.
While Bobby observes and admires the kids’ love for fishing, he can’t help but think back to his childhood in Florida and how his love for fishing quickly blossomed.
“I see myself in these kids,” Lane said. “I used to have a jon boat that I would put on top of my old station wagon when I was a kid. I would get out of soccer practice and immediately take the car and boat to go fishing. I lived and breathed bass fishing, and I see that in some of the kids that compete. This event has really shown me the importance of showing kids how to bass fish. We have sponsors, families and fans all involved in this event to help make it great. It’s proven to me that when you bring so many people into a great place how wonderful something can truly be.”
There was plenty of competition for the Bobby Lane Cup and the prizes that went to the winning teams. Trey Smith and Jonah Durden from Berkley Middle School took home first place in the Juniors division thanks to a 9-pound largemouth while Caleb Kinyon and Grayson Ashley netted more than 17 pounds to win the High School division.
Lane loves to see the joy on the faces of the winners, but what Bobby enjoys the most out of the entire weekend is getting to give away scholarship money to this year’s 26 lucky winners.
To earn a $1,000 scholarship, each of the winners had to meet the GPA and community service hour requirements, fill out an application, and write an essay. Lane’s favorite moment each year is calling each winner on stage at the end of the day to present them with their scholarship and have them recognized.
“Giving those scholarships out and knowing that we have a part in that is just a great feeling,” Lane explained. “We have so many great sponsors that support us and they allow us to give out more and more money in scholarships every year. Nine years ago, we were only giving out Yamaha wristbands and hats to only 36 kids. Now, to give out $26,000 in scholarships with more than 350 kids participating, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. I can’t wait to make next year even better.”