Ultimate Bass

Elite Series WildCard Event

Elite Series WildCard Event
Berths on the Line

Ten Bassmaster Elite Series Berths on the Line Next Week at Bassmaster Elite Series WildCard Event in Florida

Almost 40 pros will battle it out Nov. 29-Dec. 1 on Florida’s challenging Lake Okeechobee for the final 10 spots in bass fishing’s premier circuit, the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series.

Elite Series WildCard Event
Elite Series WildCard Event

Almost 40 pros will battle it out Nov. 29-Dec. 1 on Florida’s challenging Lake Okeechobee for the final 10 spots in bass fishing’s premier circuit, the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series.

The top 10 finishers in the Bassmaster Elite WildCard will complete the field of 110 pros for the 2008 Elite Series. With a $7.5 million, all-cash pro payout through the 11-event season, the 2008 Elite Series kicks off March 6-9 with the Sunshine Showdown on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes.

The pros had to earn the right to compete in the WildCard — the final event of the 2007 BASS season — through performance either on the 2007 Elite Series, Bassmaster Southern Open or Bassmaster Central Open circuits. For Elite pros who did not qualify through the regular season, the WildCard is the last chance; for most Open pros, it’s a shot at moving up.

The pros will launch at 6:45 a.m. ET Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at C. Scott Driver Park, 10100 W. Highway 78 in Okeechobee, where weigh-ins will begin at 2:45 p.m. ET daily. Live, streaming video and real-time leaderboards will be provided daily at http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com.

One WildCard competitor looking for an ’08 berth is Steve Daniel, an Elite pro from Clewiston, Fla. He says Okeechobee’s low water, upcoming spawning season and depth-altering winds could easily make competition on the 750-square-mile lake anyone’s game.

“The lake right now is about 3 ½ feet below normal pool, which is 13 ½ feet,” said Daniel, who has guided on the famous Florida fishery for 22 years, but hasn’t been on the lake since the off-limits period began Oct. 29. “Okeechobee’s a naturally low, shallow lake that fishes best when it’s 13 ½ to 14 ½ feet.

One of Daniel’s fellow WildCard competitors is J Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Ga., a 34-year-old Open pro who said he has been working for several years to achieve his goal of advancing to the Elite Series.

“I fished the first six (Bassmaster) Tour events in 2003, and although I did pretty well, I decided I wasn’t ready to move up,” Tucker said. “I decided I had to get a lot more experience on water in all parts of the country, and I’ve been working on that. When I make the Elite Series, I want to be able to stay in it.”

He said he didn’t get to pre-fish Okeechobee, but competed there about six years ago when the water level was low.

“I know navigation’s going to be hard,” he said, “but I think my chances of doing well are extremely good. I’m going into it to win, even thought it’s a top-10 tournament.”

For 21-year-old Open pro John Cox of Debary, Fla., who missed out on an Elite berth in last year’s WildCard, the Okeechobee event could change the course of his career.

“The Elites are where I want to fish,” Cox said. “I’ve been wanting this as long as I can remember. The first year might be tough, but I learn lakes quickly, and I’m ready.”

Bassmaster Elite Series Sponsors: Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Advance Auto Parts, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Evan Williams Bourbon, Ramada Worldwide and Costa Del Mar.

About BASS
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages and sanctions bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry’s widest array of services and support to its nearly 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit http://www.bassmaster.com. Visit http://www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.


Media Contact: Doug Grassian at (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com

2007 Bassmaster Elite Series WildCard Contenders

1. Randy Allen Shreveport, La.
2. Rick Ash Pottstown, Pa.
3. Billy Brewer Lorena, Texas
4. Robert Byrd Dallas, Texas
5. Kenneth Chapman Woodlawn, Tenn.
6. John Cox Debary, Fla.
7. Steve Daniel Clewiston, Fla.
8. Sean Dassau Helena, Ala.
9. Scott Dean Terrell, Texas
10. Luke Estel Murphysboro, Ill.
11. Kyle Fox Lakeland, Fla.
12. Chad Griffin Cresson, Texas
13. Wade Grooms Bonneau, S.C.
14. Preston Henson Vacaville, Calif.
15. Ron Klys Gainesville, Fla.
16. Elton Luce Jr. Brookeland, Texas
17. Jimmy Mason Rogersville, Ala.
18. Doc Merkin Downers Grove, Ill.
19. Brett Mitchell Timmonsville, S.C.
20. Bobby Myers Tulsa, Okla.
21. Eric Nethery Acworth, Ga.
22. Dave Parsons Yantis, Texas
23. Keith Phillips Crosby, Texas
24. Mike Pickett Brandenburg, Ky.
25. Patrick Pierce Saint John, Fla.
26. Trevor Rogge Champlin, Minn.
27. Frank Scalish Cleveland Heights, Ohio
28. Darrin Schwenkbeck Varysburg, N.Y.
29. Terry Segraves Kissimmee, Fla.
30. David Sherrer Shreveport, La.
31. Dave Smith Del City, Okla.
32. Bobby Stanfill Greenwood, S.C.
33. Bradley Stringer Huntington, Texas
34. J Todd Tucker Moultrie, Ga.
35. Byron Velvick Del Rio, Texas
36. Corey Waldrop Fort Worth, Texas
37. Charlie Youngers Geneva, Fla.

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