Tanner Hess of Battle Creek, Nebraska, was awarded a Bass Tracker Pro fishing boat in celebration of the inaugural Take ’Em Fishing Challenge.

His name was drawn from a pool of about 4,700 anglers who took part in the challenge between April 15 and Sept. 15.

The Take ’Em Fishing Challenge invited experienced anglers to take a new or novice angler fishing, take a photo of their trip, and upload the photo to the Game and Parks website. Those who uploaded a photo were entered into a drawing for prizes, including gift cards, gear and the Bass Tracker Pro, which was donated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation and Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops.

Tanner took his daughter, 5-year-old Emersyn, fishing near their home and snapped a photo of her holding her catch. He'd learned of the contest on social media, and a family member reminded him to make sure he entered his photo.

“It only took a minute, and here we are,” he said with a big smile as he accepted the boat during the ceremony, which he attended with his wife, Jenni, as well as Emersyn and 2-year-old daughter Suttyn.

The couple enjoy taking their daughters fishing at the public lakes around Battle Creek. Hess said he grew up fishing with his own family, and he wants his daughters to someday pass the tradition on, too.

Fishing is a time-honored tradition for many Nebraska families, said Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Jim Douglas. Just as important, the sale of fishing permits and aquatic habitat stamps fund conservation efforts of Nebraska’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams.

“Anglers are essential to the health of our aquatic natural resources,” Douglas said. “Every single person who took part in the Take ’Em Fishing Challenge is helping to ensure we preserve the important tradition of fishing in Nebraska and that we conserve the amazing water resources we have here in our state. I want to personally thank every single person who took part in Take ’Em Fishing and who shared their love of fishing with someone new.”

James Miller, general sales manager for the Tracker Marine Boat Center at the La Vista Cabela’s, said he, too, was proud to be a part of the program.

The family is excited to begin making new traditions.

“A lifetime of memories is definitely going to be had on this boat,” Jenni Hess said.

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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