By John Berry
Once again the Sowbug committee is feverishly preparing for next year’s Sowbug Roundup; it is scheduled for March 23, 24 and 25, 2023 at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. This is arguably the best fly tying show in the United States and one of the top fly tying shows in the world. Next year’s show will feature over 150 fly tyers, numerous vendors’, free seminars and free fly tying classes.
I have been involved in the Sowbug Roundup since I moved to Cotter over twenty two years ago. First I was a program presenter, than a fly tyer, then a vendor and now am a proud committee member. I still present programs, tie flies and serve as a vendor. My assignment is chairman of the fly tying contest. I first started the contest here at the Baxter Bulletin in 2012 and moved it to the Sowbug Roundup in 2016 because I felt that, with all of those fly tyers, it was a better venue. The idea is to identify the best tyers among us.
If you are interested in competing in the contest, it is very easy. Rules have been kept to a minimum. The entrant must tie the fly submitted for judging. Each entry must include the name, address, phone number and email address along with two flies for each pattern submitted (they must be exactly the same size, color, etc). You need to include the recipe for the fly, instructions on how to fish it and the category you wish to have it judged in. There are ten categories, nymph, dry fly, wet fly, smallmouth bass, bass, warm water, salmon/steelhead, salt water and tenkara. In addition, there is a best in show award, which has been renamed the Tom Schmucker Award in his honor. Tom is the founder of the renowned local business, Wapsi, the largest purveyor of fly tying materials in the world and a long time supporter of the Sowbug Roundup.
You may submit as many patterns for as many categories as you want. You can win a maximum of three categories (best in show is considered a category). All flies submitted will become the property of the contest and will not be returned. Any fly that contains insect parts (legs wings, etc.) will be eliminated from competition. Commercially tied patterns will not be accepted. The decision of the judges is final. Committee members and judges are not eligible to participate in the contest.
To participate, all you have to do is send your flies, recipes and fishing instructions to me, John Berry, at 408 Combs Ave. Cotter, Arkansas 72626 by Friday February 10, 2023. The winners will be announced on Friday March 24, 2023 at the Sowbug Roundup Shindig which will be held at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church.
This is a great place to show your skill. Please enter. I look forward to seeing your flies.