William Chapman of Salt Rock, West Virginia, took first place in the second Eastern Division event of Operation Bass’ EverStart Series, with a catch of 13 pounds, 10 ounces, to capture the $35,000 first prize in the event concluded Saturday on West Point Lake.
Chapman 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. He received $10,000 and an Evinrude-powered Ranger boat for the victory.
Arlie Napier of Middlesboro, Kentucky, took the runner-up spot with a championship round weight of 12 pounds, 1 ounce, good for $10,000.
Rounding out the top 10 anglers in the professional division were: (3) Craig Powers, Rockwood, TN, 10 pounds, 12 ounces, $9,000; (4) Chris Dunnavant, Mechanicsville, VA, 9-1, $8,000; (5) Robert Walser, Lexington, NC, 7-5, $7,000; (6) Chris Daniels, Clayton, NC, 6-6, $6,000; (7) Stephen Carty, Holbrook, MA, 4-0, $5,000; (8) Wally Szuba, Cary, NC, 3-14, $4,500; (9) Tony Smith, Duluth, GA, 1-9, $4,000; (10) Allen Armour, Dallas, GA, 0-0, $3,500.
The winner of the co-angler division was Billy Joyce of Fayetteville, Georgia, who had a winning weight of 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Joyce collected $5,000 for his co-angler division victory.
Rounding out the top 10 in the co-angler division were: (2) Keith Blalock, Nelson, GA, 5 pounds, 2 ounces, $2,750; (3) Danny Moore, Henderson, NC, 3-15, $2,250; (4) Malcom Hayes, Dallas, GA, 3-2, $2,000; (5) David Williams, Maiden, NC, 2-15, $1,800; (6) Mike Keel, Dadeville, AL, 2-13, $1,600; (7) Robert Kerber, Taberg, NY, 0-0, $1,500; (8) Darell Craft, Morristown, TN, 0-0, $1,400; (9) Terry Sanders, Cornelius, NC, 0-0, $1,300; (10) Kelley Farris, Corbin, KY, 0-0, $1,200.
The win gives Chapman and Joyce priority entry into the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour professional bass tournaments in 2000. The total purse for the West Point Lake tournament was $129,100 including an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat.
The highest-finishing original Ranger boat owner in each tournament will qualify to enter the $3.5 million Ranger M1 Millennium tournament, the richest bass event in history, with a $1 million first-place cash prize at stake. The Ranger owner who catches the largest bass in each division over the course of the season will also qualify for the Ranger Millennium tournament.
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 150-man pro and co-angler fields will be 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.
The EverStart Series has become a favorite of serious bass anglers. It affords anglers the opportunity to fish for large purses and also gives the top 30 anglers priority entry into the following year’s Wal-Mart FLW Tour. In 1999, the EverStart Series will pay back $97,300 in cash and prizes to the top 30 pros in each regular event, and $215,000 to pros in the EverStart Challenge events. Each of the eight regular EverStart events feature total cash and prizes of $150,000 including an Evinrude-equipped Ranger bass boat. The fifth and final event in both the Central and Eastern Division is the EverStart Challenge, each of which will have a $283,200 purse, including an Evinrude-equipped Ranger boat. Each of the EverStart Challenge events will be filmed for a future television special that will air on ESPN2.
EverStart(TM) batteries are marketed exclusively through Wal-Mart stores. EverStart is the world’s largest recycler of batteries. Sponsors of the EverStart Series bass tournaments include: EverStart Batteries, Chevy Trucks, CITGO Petroleum, Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards and Electrics, Black & Decker, Coca-Cola, Coleman, Eveready, Land O’Lakes, Mitchell, SpiderWire, Uniroyal, Wal-Mart, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, Wrangler, and Wheaties.