HENDERSON, NC., (September 8, 1999) Wally Szuba of Cary, North Carolina, has taken the first day lead in the Pro Division of the lucrative EverStart Challenge bass tournament being held on Kerr Lake with a first day, five bass weight of 19 pounds, 7 ounces. The event, which is the culmination of the second year EverStart Batteries Series’ Eastern Division, features 147 professional and 147 co-anglers competing in a four-day elimination tournament for a $45,000 first place prize and priority entry into the 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour series.
Szuba is competing for one of 10 slots available in the second round of competition that begins Friday, when anglers compete for one day to determine the top five Pro anglers who will compete in Saturday’s final round where the winning pro will receive $20,000 plus an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat. First place in the Co-Angler Division is $10,000. Co-Angler competition is concluded at the end of Friday’s second round.
The format for the event is identical to Operation Bass’ professional Wal-Mart FLW Tour series. The first two days, the full field of professional anglers and co-anglers compete for the heaviest two-day total weight, with the top 10 anglers from each division advancing to day three. Weight totals from the first round do not carry over. At the conclusion of the third day of competition, the top five pros advance to the final round where the winners are determined by the total weight of that day’s catch.
In the final round, each contestant is paired with a camera crew from ESPN. ESPN is filming the EverStart Challenge as part of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour television series. The event will air Sunday, December 12, 1999, at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN 2.Jerry Tice of Chipley, Florida, is leading the co-angler field with a first day, four bass total limit weighing totaling 18 pounds, 11 ounces. The total purse in the Co-Angler Division is $66,400; the purse in the Pro Division is $191,800, plus a Ranger boat.
The EverStart Batteries Series consists of eight regular events, four in the Eastern and four in the Central Division, and two EverStart Challenge tournaments. The winner of the EverStart Challenge, winners of each of the previous eight EverStart Series events in the Central and Eastern Division, and the top 10 from both divisions, based on pounds and points for the year, receive priority entry into the 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour which features a record $4.4 million in cash prizes.
Weigh-ins for the EverStart Challenge will begin at 2:00 p.m. daily Wednesday and Thursday at Henderson Point, located off Highway 39. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins begin at 5:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively at the Henderson, North Carolina, Wal-Mart located at 200 North Cooper Road.
A Family Fun Zone, with activities including: seminars from pro anglers, ESPN television taping, Elliot Sandler’s CITGO race car, and a childrens trout pond will be open to the public beginning at noon on Saturday.
Sponsors of the EverStart Series include: EverStart Batteries, CITGO, Evinrude Outboards and Electrics, Ranger Boats, Ranger Trail Trailers, Black and Decker, Land O’ Lakes, Chevy Trucks, Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, Coleman, Eveready Flashlights, Mitchell, Spiderwire, Uniroyal, US Bank VISA, Wrangler, Wheaties, Chex Mix, and Hamburger Helper.