PREMIER TOURNAMENT: Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series comes to Vicksburg

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

Vicksburg has reeled in a big one.

The River City is set to host one of the premier fishing tournaments in the South: the Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series. The tournament, scheduled to run from Aug. 4 through 6, has also become the catalyst for the Vicksburg Catfish Crawl, an event that will run in conjunction with the fishing tournament.

The fishing tournament will kick off on Aug. 5 with an optional two-day elimination event. Anglers will be vying for the $120,000 purse with a first prize of $50,000.

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Record-breaking weigh-ins are expected and the public is invited to witness what could be an unprecedented catfish catch inside the Vicksburg Convention Center.

“We are extremely excited and ecstatic and overjoyed because never in the history of a catfish tournament has the weigh-in happened indoors where the boats come in,” VCC Executive Director Erin Southard said.

Other classes of fishing tournaments have offered indoor weigh-ins, Southard added, but Vicksburg will be the first to do so for a catfish tournament. The weigh-ins will take place inside the VCC exhibit hall, which has two roll-up doors where anglers can enter from the Pearl Street side of the VCC and exit on South Street.

With the Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series being a catch-and-release tournament, Southard said the anglers will drive up to the stage, bring out their fish to be weighed and as they exit, they will stop at a tank and put the fish inside.

“There is going to be a huge tank outside where those fish go back,” Southard said, which will also allow spectators an opportunity to check out the catches.

A second tank will be on hand, she said, which will allow for rotation.

“When one (tank) fills up, they’ll take it and dump it,” she said, and while the catfish from one tank are being dumped, a second tank will be in its place at the VCC. “They’ll just keep rotating.”

During the tournament, vendor booths will be set up at the VCC and John Godwin of the TV show “Duck Dynasty” will be on hand signing autographs.

Bill Dance is also scheduled to attend.

In addition to the fishing tournament, activities are also planned for Vicksburg’s first-ever Catfish Crawl. Events will include the Vicksburg Restaurant Challenge where more than 10 local eateries will be vying for the best catfish recipe.

The Catfish Crawl will also include home tours, live music and shopping.

Many of the activities included in the Catfish Crawl were already scheduled, but the event allows local business owners and volunteers to come together under one umbrella to support the tournament.

“This is just a way to highlight all the different offerings Vicksburg has and get people to stay two or three or four days and experience everything Vicksburg has to offer,” Oak Hall Bed and Breakfast owner and Catfish Crawl proponent Elizabeth Nelson said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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