FLW Tour anglers prepped for Super Bowl of bass fishing - Major League Fishing

FLW Tour anglers prepped for Super Bowl of bass fishing

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Wal-Mart FLW Tour
July 24, 2002 • MLF • Archives

BENTON, Ky. – After a highly successful season culminating in a 1-ounce margin of victory for Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., in the final regular-season event, the Wal-Mart FLW Tour is riding a wave of excitement heading into the championship stretch. This year’s $800,000 championship, presented by Castrol, will take place Sept. 11-14 on Cross Lake near Shreveport, La.

The tournament will feature a setup unlike any bass-fishing championship in the history of the sport. The 48 pros who qualified based on their year-end point total will be seeded so fishing fans can keep up with their favorite anglers in a bracket-style competition similar to the NCAA basketball playoffs. The No. 1 seed will fish head-to-head against the No. 48 seed; the No. 2 seed will compete against the No. 47 seed and so on.

The 2002 Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year, Yamaha pro Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, sits as the No. 1 seed followed by Chevy pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., in the No. 2 spot. Yelas will be paired with No. 48 seed Harmon Davis of Marlow, Okla., while VanDam will compete against No. 47 seed Marty Stone of Linden, N.C.

Other notable matchups include Yamaha’s Dean Rojas (3) of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and teammate Takahiro Omori (46) of Emory, Texas; Kellogg’s pros Clark Wendlandt (4) of Cedar Park, Texas, and Alvin Shaw (45) of State Road, N.C.; Chevy pros Tom Mann Jr. (14) of Buford, Ga., and Larry Nixon (35) of Bee Branch, Ark.; perennial contenders Rick Clunn (11) of Ava, Mo., and Paul Elias (38) of Pachuta, Miss.; and professional-fishing legacies Dion Hibdon (19) of Stover, Mo., and Keith Williams (30) of Conway, Ark.

Guido Hibdon, Dion’s father, also qualified for the championship as the 22nd seed, meaning he could face his son in the final round if both men advance. Williams’ father, Jerry, also fishes the Wal-Mart FLW Tour but did not qualify for the championship.

Team Yamaha and Team Fujifilm tied for most representatives. Each has four pros competing. Kellogg’s is next in line with three, followed by Coleman with two. Teams Castrol, Conseco, Land O’Lakes and Stanley Works each have one angler competing.

The top 48 pros will fish for a combined two-day weight to eliminate half the field for the semifinal round on day three. The 24 semifinalists will continue in head-to-head competition on day three, after which the field will be cut to 12 finalists.

On day four, the remaining 12 anglers will be reseeded according to their total weight from the first three days of competition. Anglers seeded No. 1 and No. 2 will compete for the first- and second-place cash awards of $260,000 and $55,000. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will compete for third- and fourth-place money of $34,500 and $29,000 and so on. The pro who finishes last in the no-entry-fee championship will take $2,000.

Co-angler competition will end on day three. A full field of 48 co-anglers will fish for a combined two-day weight to advance to the 24-slot final round. Weights are then cleared, with the weight on day three determining the Co-angler Division champion who will collect $25,000 cash. The co-angler finishing 48th will receive $500.

Named after Ranger Boats founder Forrest L. Wood, the Wal-Mart FLW Tour is run by FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing tournaments. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1996 and has since expanded its sponsorship of FLW Outdoors’ fishing tournaments to include the EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit and Ranger M1. FLW Outdoors will award anglers as much as $22 million in 2002 through 170 tournaments nationwide.


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