To survive the toughest of all tests — the test of time — an organization must do things right or failure is assured. I suspect that maintaining consistency and staying on the ethical high road are qualities that play roles in such success.|
The Quad City Bass Club, now 50 years young, has survived that toughest of tests and is enduring for the future.
"There was a group of guys who loved to fish for bass and traveled north where the Mississippi River water was cleaner nearly every weekend," said Lloyd "Barts" Bartling of Davenport, who is considered to be the founder of the club. "Our main off-the-water hangout was a watering hole called Rockys in Clayton, Iowa.
"I think it was the last weekend in May, 1963, when a dozen of us hanging out at Rockys after a day of fishing decided to start a bass fishing club, both for fishing and for something to do in the winter when we couldn't fish. That started the Quad City Bass Club. We met in my basement for monthly meeting until we grew, then started meeting at some commercial places and finally landed at the Davenport Eagles Club, where the club still meets today."
The year of 1963 is an important milestone not just for QC anglers, but for bass anglers and clubs everywhere. As a benchmark, the Bass Anglers Sportsmens Society (BASS), the oldest professional level tournament bass fishing organization in the world, was founded by Alabamian Ray Scott and held their first tournament in 1967.
"From all the research I've done over many years, we're the fourth oldest bass club in the nation," long-time club secretary/treasurer Ron Reick of Davenport said. "We have about 150 members and have had as many as 200. In early days when the club set a membership limit of 150, we had a waiting list to join and you had to fill out an application form with references to become a member."
The exponential growth of bass fishing in those days and the popularity of the somewhat exclusive QCBC spurred others to start more area bass clubs, including the Twin Rivers Bass Club, the Bi-State Bass Club.
"We had more participation in tournaments back then," long-time member Wally Bloomer of Eldridge said. But there was less fishing pressure and we were the only club that had tournaments back then."
Bloomer, 68, is one of several long-time members of the club who not only still compete in QCBC tournaments, but has a son and/or grandson who competes alongside. Notable is that Wally and his son Brad Bloomer finished the 2012 tournament season in second place.
"I joined the club several years ago because of its reputation as a good group of guys who get alone well, travel together and stick together," said recently elected QCBC president Terry Harris of Colona. "And that's exactly what I found. We typically have 20 to 30 boats in a tournament and have few problems. We have a couple of husband and wife events that are more like pot-luck meal parties. It's just a good all-round club that's fun to be part of."
We at the World Outdoors tip our fedora to congratulate the Quad City Bass Club on reaching the age of 50 and look for their continued success.
Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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