Earl Bentz Receives Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission 2023 Legacy Award

Monday, March 27, 2023 | 10:30am
Earl Bentz - Legacy Award

NASHVILLE --- Earl Bentz has been honored as the recipient of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission 2023 Legacy Award. He was presented the award at the Commission’s meeting at Buffalo Ridge Refuge.

The Legacy Award was established in 2021 to recognize those people who demonstrate a commitment to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor lifestyles of Tennessee. A resident of Nashville, Bentz is an avid hunter and fisherman and has been a long-time supporter of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. He is a past commissioner and served as chairman during his appointment. He is also a founding board member of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation.

Bentz grew up in the marine business. As a teenager, Bentz worked for his uncle at his marine dealership in Charleston, S.C. He also began working with the pit crew of his uncle’s boat racing team. At age 16, Bentz began a championship racing career. He was the nine-time national and two-time world champion during his career.

Following his racing days, he accepted a position with Hydra-Sports and became ice-president/general manager in 1981. In 1983, he became president and founder of his first manufacturing company, Stratos Boats. He would later start Javelin and Triton Boats. In 2018, he founded Caymas Boats and continued to produce high quality boats in Tennessee.

Over the past 30 years, Bentz and his team have been credited with developing many of the designs and system standards on today’s bass boats. One of the most recent innovations, the retractable boarding ladder, received the “Award of Excellence” for lifesaving innovations by the National Safe Boating Council.

He has received several other honors including being inducted into both the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame. Over the years, he has served on numerous industry boards, and been involved with civic and charitable organizations.

Bentz joins outdoors mentor David Wright from Chattanooga and fishing legend Bill Dance from Collierville as Legacy Award winners. The TFWC voted on the award at its January meeting.


Photo caption


Earl Bentz holds his award for being named the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission 2023 Legacy Award. Pictured with Bentz (from left) is his wife Janet. Former TFWC chair Angie who presented award, TFWC Vice Chairman Jimmy Granbery, TWRA Executive Director Jason Maxedon, and TFWC Chairman Tommy Woods.