HENDERSON, N.C., (September 9, 1999) North Carolina anglers dominated the top ten positions in the lucrative EverStart Challenge bass tournament, securing four out of the top 10 berths going into tomorrow’s second round of competition. The 147-man professional and 147-man co-angler fields of top bass anglers competing in the lucrative tournament being held on Kerr Lake at Henderson have been cut to 10 anglers in the Professional and Co-Angler Divisions. The professional anglers will start over in the second round, fishing for one day, Friday, for the heaviest limit of bass that will propel them into the final, five-man round on Saturday. Co-angler competition concludes at the end of Friday’s action.
The event, which is the culmination of the second year EverStart Series’ Eastern Division, features some of the nation’s top professional and 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.
Professional Division anglers fishing Friday will be competing for one of five slots available in Saturday’s final round of competition, 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.
Rickey Schumpert of Lexington, South Carolina, quashed a bid by David Walker of Cannon, Kentucky, to be the only angler in history to win Angler-of-the-Year titles in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and the EverStart Series in the same year. Schumpert ended the season with 215 points. Big Bass winner for the tournament was Chris Bowker of Marshfield, Massachusetts, who landed a bass weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces, good for $500.
The format for the EverStart Challenge is identical to Operation Bass’ professional Wal-Mart FLW Tour series, where the full field of anglers, in both divisions, compete for two days, after which the field is cut to 10, based on two-day cumulative catch weight. The top 10 anglers in the Pro and Co-Angler Divisions then start over competing for one day to determine the five professional division anglers that will advance to the final round.
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.
The EverStart 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.
Friday’s EverStart Challenge weigh-in will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Henderson, North Carolina, Wal-Mart located at 200 North Cooper Road. Saturday’s final weigh-in and ESPN 2 television production begins at 3:30 p.m. A Family Fun Zone, with activities including: seminars from pro anglers, ESPN television taping, fishing exhibits, Elliot Sandler’s CITGO race car, and a children’s 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, and Chevy Trucks, Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, Coleman, Eveready Flashlights, Mitchell, Spiderwire, Uniroyal, US Bank VISA, Wrangler, Wheaties, Chex Mix, and Hamburger Helper.