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Troutmasters is the name of an annual fishing tournament taking place in the Wilson's Creek district of Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina. The invitation only tournament takes place on the opening day of trout fishing season, normally the first Saturday in April, but has since been moved to June due to extreme weather conditions in early April (snow, wind, lava, etc). Entrants begin fishing Friday morning through Saturday evening. Wilson's creek is stocked by the North Carolina Fish Hatcheries division of N.C Game and Wildlife Commission. The river is stocked with Rainbow, Brook, and Brown trout.
Unlike most fishing tournaments which judge by weight of catch, Troutmasters fish are judged by length from tip to tail. By catching the longest fish, the Troutmasters winning fisherman is awarded ownership of the coveted Troutmasters trophy until the next tournament. The trophy is engraved with the names of previous winners.
Other traditions unique to the tournament include the Mezcal opening ceremony, taking place on the Thursday evening prior to the fishing tournament. The ceremony begins with a reading of "The Mystique of Mezcal", followed by a sampling of the liquor. Tournament participants may also elect to read a short passage of their own.
A horseshoe tournament was added to the weekend's festivities in 2002. "The Golden Horseshoe" tournament is composed of two-man teams, competing in "best of three" matches. The rules include a beer can a top the post that count for additional points (5) if knocked off or pierced through. The tournament uses a double elimination format, with the championship match normally taking place on Saturday afternoon.
2014 Scott Perry
2013 Rob Horton
2012 Scott Perry
2011 Gibby Bates
2010 Jason "Winston" Osborne
2009 Rob Horton
2008 Jason "Winston" Osborne
2007 Jason "Bru" Smith
2006 Rob Horton
2005 Gibby Bates
2004 Jason "Bru" Smith
2003 Teddy P
2002 Teddy P
2001 Foo Foo
2000 Jason "Bru" Smith
Golden Horseshoe Champions
2014 Winston and Rob Hensley
2013 Winston and Rob Hensley
2012 Scott Perry and Mark Del-Colle
2011 Scott Perry and Mark Del-Colle
2010 Brad Rice and Scott Franklin
2009 Scott Perry and Mark Del-Colle