HENDERSON, N.C., (September 10, 1999) — After three days of competition in the EverStart Batteries Challenge bass tournament being held on Kerr Lake, all but five of the 147 Pro Division anglers have been eliminated, and they will advance to Saturday’s final round. There they will compete for the heaviest day’s catch weight to determine the winner, who will receive $45,000, including $20,000, an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat, and priority entry into the 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour, professional fishing’s most lucrative series.
The tournament is the culmination of the Eastern Division of the lucrative, second year, 10-venue EverStart Series that features some of the nation’s best bass anglers competing in two divisions, Central and Eastern. The series will award anglers up to $1.6 million in cash and prizes during 1999. The EverStart Series also provides a pathway for top anglers to the prestigious $4.4 million, seven-event Wal-Mart FLW Tour professional bass series. The winning angler in the Professional and Co-Angler division of each tournament along with the top 10 anglers, based on points and pounds for the year, will receive priority entry into the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 2000.
The top five fishermen advancing in the professional division include: Jeff Coble, Henderson, NC, 18-13; Robert Walser, Lexington, NC, 18-7; William Chapman, Salt Rock, WV, 13-6; David Cooke, Davidson, NC, 8-14; and Wally Szuba, Cary, NC, 7-8.
The Co-Angler competition concluded today with Tony Toombs of Drakes Branch, Virginia, taking top honors with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. Toombs Gray received $10,000 for the win.
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 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. In the final round, each contestant is paired with a camera crew from ESPN.
Saturday’s weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m. 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 2 television taping, Elliot Sandlers 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.