Gerald Beck of Lexington, North Carolina, took first place in the $227,550 EverStart Challenge with a five bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces, to capture the $45,000 first prize in the event concluded Saturday on Kerr Lake.
Beck survived two earlier elimination rounds and 157 anglers en route to the EverStart victory, edging out four other finalists competing in Saturday’s final round of the professional division. He received $20,000 and an Evinrude-powered Ranger boat for the victory.
Frank Ippoliti of Mount Airy, Maryland, took the runner-up spot with a championship round, five bass tally weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces, good for $20,000.
Rounding out the top ten in the professional division of the event that culminated the first year EverStart Series’ Eastern Division were: (3) Joel Richardson, Kernersville, North Carolina, five bass, 11 pounds, 12 ounces, $18,000; (4) Jeff Coble, Henderson, North Carolina, 8 pounds, 15 ounces, $16,000; (5) Rodney Sorrell, Stokesdale, North Carolina, 5 pounds, 6 ounces, $14,000; and from Friday, (6) Dennis Reedy, Sanford, North Carolina, 6 pounds, 12 ounces, $12,000; (7) Abe Abernathy, Greensboro, North Carolina, 2 pounds, 10 ounces, $10,000; (8) Doyle Hodgin, Durham, North Carolina, 2 pounds, 3 ounces, $9,000; (9) Robert Walser, Lexington, North Carolina, 2 pounds, 0 ounces, $8,000; (10) James Key, Troy, Alabama, 0 pounds, $7,000..
The winner of the Co-Angler (amateur) division competition concluded Friday was Brandon Gray of Colfax, North Carolina, who had a winning weight of 14 pounds, 14 ounces. Gray collected $10,000 for his Co-Angler division victory. Both Beck and Gray will receive priority entry into the $3.97 million, 1999 Wal-Mart FLW Tour.
Rounding out the top ten in the Co-Angler division of the event, concluded Friday, were: (2) Lanny Kinsey, Henderson, North Carolina, 7 pounds, 8 ounces, $4,000; (3) Larry Moody, Raleigh, North Carolina, 4 pounds, 13 ounces, $3,000; (4) “Flash” Butts, Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, 3 pounds, 0 ounces, $2,500; (5) Harry Shoffner, Burlington, North Carolina, 1 pound, 9 ounces, $2,000; (6) Bruce Simons, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, 0 pounds, $1,400; (7) Gary Vick, Wilson, North Carolina, 0 pounds, $1,300; (8) Phil Maness, Salisbury, North Carolina, 0 pounds, $1,200; (9) Nick Arnold, New Bern, North Carolina, 0 pounds, $1,100; and (10) John Blizzard, Columbus, Georgia, 0 pounds, $1,000
The EverStart Series consists of eight regular events, four in the Central and four in the Eastern Division, and two EverStart Challenge tournaments. The Challenge events, one per division, feature the same format as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournaments. The Pro and Co-Angler fields are cut to the top 10 after two days. Co-Angler 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 is filmed for a future television segment that will air on ESPN 2. The Eastern Division event will air December 20, 1998, at 11 a.m. and December 21 at 6 a.m. EST on ESPN2.