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Darrell Van Vactor

Growing up in Western Kentucky it seemed only natural to have a strong dedication to the sports of hunting and fishing. That dedication led Van Vactor to a job while in college working at a resort on nearby Barkley Lake where in a few months his boss changed his job description from mowing campsites to taking resort guest on guided fishing trips.

Starting Van's guide service in 1969 that he still maintains today helped him understand the need for educating anglers to make them more successful while on the water and convinced him to do seminars around the country at major sport and travel shows with an emphasis on tips and techniques to make the attendees better fishermen and help them enjoy their time fishing even more.

It was through the sport show circuit that Van Vactor was offered a tournament director position with Johnson Worldwide Associates in their Crappiethon tournament trail.


In 1996 Van Vactor and a group of partners purchased Crappiethon from Johnson and Crappie USA tournament trail was born. The idea was to hold one, two and four day competitive events with a low entry fee and position them close to as many anglers as possible. At the same time Crappie USA was founded Van Vactor started Outdoor Kid Inc. a non profit company that holds free events for youngsters through 12 years of age and awards college scholarship to the youth fishing the events. In October 2014 the amount awarded in these scholarships exceeded $300,000.00.

In 2002 Van Vactor and his group founded King Kat Trail which today is the largest competitive catfish trail in the nation.

Over the years Van Vactor has been the focus of many, many TV shows, how to Video series, magazine articles and covers and served as editor of Outdoor Journal the Official publication of both Crappie USA Inc. and King Kat tournament trail. He has worked closely with US Fish and Wildlife Service, MICRA, Ky Department of Fish and Wildlife and other organizations bringing attention to invasive species and promoting laws and regulation changes in several states to better protect and preserve or nation fisheries.

Darrell and his wife Stacie work together daily to better serve their members in both the American Crappie Association and King Kat Association yet still save a little time for their favorite past times of fishing and Elk hunting.

"Only in America can a young boy from Kentucky turn his favorite sport into a successful career".