OKEECHOBEE, Fla.–Jan. 31, 1998–Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., took first place in the first event of the new EverStart Series, with a five bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces, to capture the $35,000 first prize in the event concluded Saturday on Lake Okeechobee.
Harrison survived two earlier elimination rounds and 150 anglers enroute to the EverStart victory, edging out nine other finalists competing in Saturday’s final round of the professional division.
Robert Beatty of Orlando, Fla., took the runner-up spot with a championship round tally of five bass, weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces, good for $10,000.
Rounding out the top 10 in the professional division in the first event of the EverStart Series’ Eastern Division were: (3) Patrick Kelly, Loxahatchee, Fla., five bass, 11 pounds, 1 ounce, $9,000; (4) Mark Rogers, Naples, Fla., three bass, 5 pounds, 1 ounce, $8,000; (5) Jim Taylor, Orange Park, Fla., three
bass, 5 pounds, $7,000; (6) David Eng, Okeechobee, Fla., two bass, 4 pounds, 2 ounces, $6,000; (7) Alister Johnson, Donaldsonville, Ga., two bass, 3 pounds, 7 ounces, $5,000; (8) Ken Ellis, Moncks Corner, S.D., one bass, 2 pounds, 3 ounces, $4,500; (9) Mark Lamb, West Palm Beach, Fla., two bass, 2 pounds, 3 ounces, $4,000; and (10) Mike Gough, Gainesville, Fla., 0 bass, $3,500.
The winner of the amateur division was David Greene of Interlachen, Fla., who landed five bass weighing 10 pounds, 1 ounce for the win. Greene collected $5,000 for his amateur division victory.
Rounding out the top 10 in the amateur division were: (2) Bill Rucker, Cocoa, Florida, five bass, 9 pounds, 13 ounces, $2,000; (3) Mark Eden, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 9 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,500; (4) Virginia Ford, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,250; (5) Barry Scott, Stafford, Va., one bass, 2 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,000; (6) Jerry Propst, Cape Canaveral, Fla., one bass, 1 pound, 15 ounces, $700; (7) John Cooper, Fayetteville, Ga., 0 bass, $650; (8) John Miles, 0 bass, $600; (9) Mike Carroll, Lakeland, Fla., 0 bass, $550; and (10) Michael Rosa, Delray Beach, Fla., 0 bass, $500.
The win gives Chip Harrison and David Greene priority entry into the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour professional bass tournaments in 1999.
The total purse for the Okeechobee tournament was $138,775 including a fully-rigged Ranger bass boat.
The EverStart Series consists of eight regular events, four in the Eastern and four in the Central Division, and two EverStart Challenge tournaments. The Challenge events, one per division, feature the same format as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournaments. The 150-man pro and amateur fields will be cut to the top 10 after two days. Amateur competition is ended at the conclusion of day three, with only the top five pros left to compete on the final day.
Each of the EverStart Challenge events will be filmed for a future segment of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour television series that airs on ESPN and ESPN 2.