Happy Friday, Xplorers, and welcome back to the TerraX Sports Center!
This week, we’ve got an incredible update for you. Our two favorite middle school fishermen, Carson Pearce and Grant Sheffield, participated in another great tournament — the second round of the Three-River Throw-Down. Now, you may remember that in their first round on Lake Martin, Carson and Grant came in at an impressive 38th out of 89 total boats. What’s more, their school, Benjamin Russell, began their season in second place, following closely behind Elmore County. The team is certainly off to a great start!
Round two came just a few weeks later, on October 8 on Lake Eufaula. Not only did Carson and Grant compete, and not only were they incredibly successful — we’ll get to those stats in just a minute — but they also competed with a serious injury to one of the team members. Let us tell you — the kids brought in a truly impressive total score, and on a day when the fish just weren’t biting like normal. It was a tough day out there, but we couldn’t be more proud of the boys and their performance.
We look forward to bringing you all the updates, right after this break!
Help Wanted! (An Addendum)
Do you find yourself longing for something more? Do you find joy in creating cleanliness and order? Do you have strong organizational skills and a passion for history and archaeology?
If so, you might be the right fit for the TerraX Laboratory!
At the TerraX Laboratory, we wash, label, analyze, photograph, organize, and ensure the highest standard of care for all artifacts our field crews find. Under the supervision of our outstanding Lab Director, Raychel Durdin, our technicians and specialists work to preserve and interpret cultural materials from ancient projectile points to twentieth-century cookware. Their work is essential — we literally couldn’t manage any cultural resources without them!
The lab team is fantastic, and the work they do is so important. By analyzing and interpreting artifacts, they uncover priceless data that can teach us about people who lived long ago — and they do a great job of it. They’re also just good people! You couldn’t ask for better coworkers than Joanna, Julia, Kelsey, and Mike. So… we have to ask:
Are you ready to join our team?
That’s right! The TerraX Lab is hiring. Last week, we filled you in on our current open positions (which you can still check out here), and this week, we’re happy to add one more open position to the list! We’re seeking qualified and enthusiastic individuals to work in our Tuscaloosa laboratory. If you’re interested in working alongside passionate and hardworking people to collect, record, and understand our collective history, then this is the place for you.
If you’re interested, make sure to head over to the job posting page to learn more about the requirements and qualifications for the position. And remember — at TerraX, we don’t just offer jobs, we offer professions. We strive to make our company an outstanding place to work, and we take pride in the brilliant expertise and positive attitudes of our people. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
The Team Suffers an Injury but Proceeds Undaunted
Before we get into the details of the tournament, we just want to give it up — poor Carson had to compete on one foot!
Carson, being such a star athlete, is not only a fantastic fisherman but a talented soccer player, too. He’s been keeping up with both sports throughout the season this year, and he even made the All-Star soccer team! Unfortunately, however, the day before he was supposed to leave for the tournament, tragedy struck. He made it all the way until the very end, but in the last few seconds of a soccer game, Carson, who was playing as the goalie, went to block the ball and twisted his foot. Before he could recover, another player fell on the already twisted foot and broke it.
Kenny’s wife, Angie, took Carson to urgent care, and the x-rays confirmed the break. Thankfully, they were able to get Carson in a boot and on some crutches to allow him to start healing, but sadly, his soccer season would have to be over. However, the question remained — would he still be able to fish?
Carson’s answer was a resounding, “Yes!” He wasn’t about to be stopped by a little broken foot! Carson and Angie had already packed up the car to head down to Eufaula, and they weren’t about to unpack it now. By the time Kenny finished work for the day, they were heading out the door. (Don’t worry — Kenny joined them the next day.) Crutches in tow, they left that night — Carson was not about to miss any of his prefishing time.
We’re proud of Carson for his tenacity! But for those of you worried — we assure you, he stayed safe the during the entire tournament. He has to wear the boot for the next six to eight weeks, but he’s healing well. And in the meantime, with a little careful maneuvering, he was able to get safely into the boat for a fantastic day on the lake.
A Bit of a Rough Start
Carson may have made it down to the lake on time despite his injury, but the challenges didn’t stop there. Thankfully, though, he had some great teammates supporting him! Jackson and Grant left early to get the boat set up, but they let Carson sleep a little later so his foot could get some extra rest. A little while later than usual, Angie took Carson down to the boat ramp to meet them. The team set out early in the morning on Friday for their usual prefish to figure out the best places to find fish during the actual tournament, but it quickly became evident that the fish were going to be scarce.
They sailed around and around, searching for those priceless fishing hotspots. For whatever reason, the fish seemed to be hiding, and they found only two spots that seemed likely to yield any catches at all — let alone any big ones — and that’s far less than normal. What’s more — the two locations were pretty far apart. The team knew they were going to lose precious time and fuel traveling between them. Nevertheless, they decided they’d commit to fishing those two spots during the tournament and hope for the best.
It’s worth noting, too, that while Carson’s and Grant’s team found a couple of spots to fish, other teams weren’t so lucky. More than just a few teams sailed around for the entire prefish without finding any good locations. Thankfully, boat captains can communicate with each other to share information about where to fish during the real tournaments, and the Benjamin Russel teams were able to help each other out. Unfortunately, however, this tournament was shaping up to be a tough run for everybody.
About 4 AM the morning of the tournament, they got ready to go, and by about 5, they were able to meet up with Grant and Jackson in the parking lot. Fishing poles in hand, they were ready for Blast Off at 6:15. With that, they were off!
Just as they’d planned, the boys stuck to the two locations they’d scouted out during the prefish, and believe it or not, they didn’t do too badly at all! The group fished for their allotted time, then headed back in for the weigh-in at about two o’clock.
Sidenote: In the meantime, Kenny and Angie discovered a Fall Festival taking place in the nearby town of Eufaula. Shout out to them for putting on such a fun event! These tournaments aren’t easy for the anglers, but they’re not super easy for the parents either, since they have to be up just as early, but they don’t get to go fishing.
At any rate, one long day later, they boys weighed in their catch! Are you prepared for these impressive numbers?
Let’s Check In With the Stats
We just want to reiterate — this was a tough tournament. 39 of the 86 teams competing weren’t able to catch a single fish, and that’s not for lack of trying. And of the remaining 47 teams, only three managed to catch the maximum six fish teams are allowed to weigh and count toward their total overall score. Most teams hit the docks with only one or two fish, and there were a few teams who caught three or four.
Carson and Grant caught — Are you ready for this? — nine.
Uh, yeah. You read that right. Our favorite anglers caught three more fish than they needed, even though the fish were scarce and they only had two spots to fish.
Impressed yet? Let us continue! As always, the team had their six heaviest fish weighed and counted toward their total score. Now, you may remember from the last tournament that the six fish they weighed were all about a pound each, giving them a total score of just over 6 pounds. This time, however, their score was more than double that. Yup — the team brought in a total weight of 14.5 pounds! That’s more than two pounds per fish!
Once all the scores were tallied, their impressive 14.5 pounds put Carson and Grant in second place. Remember — they came in 38th in the last tournament, and that was impressive enough given that they were going up against high schoolers. Second place is absolutely incredible — it just goes to show you that our team has truly outstanding tenacity, patience, and observation skills when it comes to finding those fish! Also exciting — such an impressive score moved Benjamin Russell into first place in the overall team competition.
For those of you who really like to get into the weeds, check this out — that 14.5 pounds put our boys just .65 pounds behind the first place winners but an impressive 3.15 pounds ahead of third place. Carson and Grant are truly top-tier anglers, and we couldn’t be more excited to see where their skills take them in the future!
Three Cheers for the Benjamin Russell Anglers!
We cannot emphasize this enough — we could not be more excited for or proud of the Benjamin Russell fishing team this year. All of the kids are working hard and bring home impressive scores, and we’re just grateful to get to watch from the shore.
If you missed our last post about the first round of the Three-River Throw-Down, be sure to head over here to give it a read. And be sure to check back regularly for updates on future tournaments! The boys have another one coming up on November 5 on Lake Jordan, and we’ll be sure to give you all the details.
Until next time, we hope you’re inspired to enjoy some fun in the great outdoors! The temperatures are finally dropping, and heading out for a day on the lake sounds just fine to us. And who knows? You just might catch some fish yourself!
Keep on learning, Xplorers! We’ll catch you next time. (Pun intended).
— The TerraX Team