Sioux Falls SCHEELS sponsors student fishing club

Katelyn Winberg, Reporter

South Dakota State University’s new fishing club is partnering up with the SCHEELS store located in Sioux Falls, SD, in an effort to assist students who want to participate in fishing competitions. 

The Sioux Falls SCHEELS will be donating $250 per tournament to help with travel expenses, giving discounts to team members to shop for their products at SCHEELS, gifting swag to put on boats and trucks, and allowing their logo to be on the team jerseys. The fishing team will also get featured on the Sioux Falls SCHEELS social media pages in the coming months in order to promote the club.

 The idea of a partnership arose when the fishing club leadership, along with their friend and SCHEELS sales representative, Kaiden Karst, approached the store about a potential sponsorship in an informal meeting.

 “I’ve been going to SCHEELS for fishing equipment for the past 10 years,” Jayden Beznoska, fishing club president, said. “They really strive to help the community, so I thought they would be a good company to partner with.”

SCHEELS was completely on board with this idea.

 “We loved it, honestly, we were on board before the meeting even happened,” said Jenna Schlapkohl, the events coordinator and social media manager for the Sioux Falls SCHEELS.

 Schlapkohl details that it was an easy decision to make, followed by how impressed they were at the team’s commitment to community efforts and involvement in the fishing world, traits the sporting goods chain also shares. 

“One of our main goals is community outreach, as well as youth sports,” Schlapkohl said, “We love the outdoors. We love South Dakota. Just being able to give back to the community that gives so much to us is the whole reason behind this partnership.”

 According to Schlapkohl, the partnership will officially launch this spring, as the team enters its second-ever tournament season. Despite SDSU’s strong Natural Resource Management department, this fishing club is relatively new.

 “My teammate and best friend, Max, and I started the team here,” Beznoska said. “We had been planning on starting a team ever since high school.” 

Max Miller is the club’s vice president. Beznoska and Miller are both sophomores at SDSU who had wanted to be a part of a collegiate fishing team, but upon coming to this school they found no active club. There had been a previous fishing team, but it got terminated a few years before Beznoska and Miller arrived on campus.

 So, the two created the current club. They compete in fishing tournaments across the country against teams from other universities, competing against about 150 different teams each time. 

One of the people they have competed against is Karst, who is currently in the process of being hired as the fishing team’s coach. Karst is an SDSU alum and was the first person to fish for SDSU during his time in the former fishing club.

 “We know him pretty well. We’re pretty good buddies,” Beznoska said. 

Although they have yet to secure a win, they hope with this new help from SCHEELS and a little more experience, they’ll be catching wins as well as fish.