Kevin VanDam Snaps Up Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Lead

KVDIf anyone thinks they’ve got Kevin VanDam’s number, they’d better have the number four in mind.

On Sunday the 40-year-old pro took his Bassmaster Elite Series record fourth victory. It was his 14th BASS win and it put him on top in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings in his bid for his fourth AOY title.

Bass Fishing's GreeatestIf anyone thinks they’ve got Kevin VanDam’s number, they’d better have the number four in mind.

On Sunday the 40-year-old pro took his Bassmaster Elite Series record fourth victory. It was his 14th BASS win and it put him on top in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings in his bid for his fourth AOY title.

His wire-to-wire triumph at Kentucky Lake boosted VanDam, from Kalamazoo, Mich., past two Elite pros who have been duking it out all season in the AOY standings: Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, and Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark.

Faircloth now trails VanDam by 65 points. McClelland is 94 points behind. Reigning AOY Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., is fourth in the points race, 145 ticks back.

In fifth is Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., who is 181 points back iand Terry Scroggins of Palatka, Fla., is sixth, 271 points behind VanDam.

With just three events remaining on the 2008 schedule, the points race is important to all Elite pros, whether or not they’re among the leaders. The top 84 will qualify for the 2009 season. Pros also are vying for one of 36 berths in the 2009 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 20-22 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

Along with the points and prestige, the AOY title pays $250,000. The runner-up will get $100,000, and the program pays the top 50 anglers for a $1 million total payout.

Moments after VanDam took his fourth Elite victory, BASS emcee Keith Alan asked VanDam for his thoughts on the AOY race.

“Winning an event is always wonderful, it’s special,” said VanDam, whose 14 BASS wins include two Classic crowns. “It’s so hard to do against these guys that I don’t take (a win) for granted, but Angler of the Year is the ultimate goal.

“When you compete in 11 events, all over the country, at all different times of the year, consistency is a hard thing to do. To the anglers, I think it (the AOY title) means even more than winning the Bassmaster Classic.”

VanDam’s focus is on the Trail to the Trophy’s homestretch — the three events remaining in the Elite season.

“I want to win it bad,” he said of the AOY title, “but we still have a lot of fishing to do, so I’ll take it one step at a time.”

Next up on the Elite trail is the June 26-29 Tennessee Triumph presented by Longhorn on Old Hickory Lake out of Hendersonville, Tenn. The event was rescheduled from the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa, where high water levels rendered the river unsafe for competition.

KVD CLOSING IN ON $3 MILLION MARK. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who has banked more BASS career winnings than any other pro, soon could be the first to hit the $3 million mark.

VanDam’s total reached $2,954,958 after his $100,000 win Sunday on Kentucky Lake at the Bluegrass Brawl presented by DieHard® Platinum Marine Batteries. He had piled on $30,000 in the previous week for his second-place finish in the Southern Challenge presented by Advance Auto Parts at Wheeler Lake out of Decatur, Ala.

Bonuses from both tournaments added up to $23,000. Most of it was in Berkley Heavyweight awards: $11,000 at the Bluegrass Brawl and $11,000 at the Southern Challenge. VanDam also won a $1,000 Purolator bonus at the Bluegrass Brawl for a 6-pound, 7-ounce lunker, the big bass for Day 1.

FairclothVanDam’s BASS winnings this month total $153,000. And the month’s not done; coming up is the June 26-29 Tennessee Triumph presented by Longhorn on Old Hickory Lake.

Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Mo., is the only other pro to have surpassed the $2 million mark in BASS winnings. His total is $2,266,901.

Twenty-six other anglers can claim membership in the BASS Millionaires Club, an exclusive group of pros who have surpassed the $1 million mark in BASS tournament winnings. Recent Elite pros crossing the threshold were Scott Rook of Little Rock, Ark., who achieved the mark at the last event on Kentucky Lake and Boyd Duckett, the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion.

BASSCAST: LIKE BEING IN THE BOAT. An innovative technology brought the cast-by-cast action of a Bassmaster Elite Series event to fans last weekend via

The technology, BASSCast Powered by ESPN, uses video cameras mounted in contenders’ boats so fans can view what’s happening on the water. Fans attending the event got to see first-hand the final day of the Bluegrass Brawl presented by DieHard® Platinum Marine Batteries as it played out on Kentucky Lake.

A camera on the boat of Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., gave fans an up-close look at how VanDam earned his reputation as a seemingly tireless power angler. Fans also saw how the famous pro hooked and boated the fish that helped him a just few hours later to his $100,000 win.

McClellandThe technology depends in part on a strong cellphone signal — not always a given on the water — because the video captured by the camera is transmitted via cellphone. After transmission, the video is digitized for broadcast on the Internet.

LOUISIANA MAN IS BIG WINNER. BASS member Gerald Foster of West Monroe, La., won a Humminbird 797 marine electronics unit in last week’s BASS 40th Anniversary Gear Up Giveaway. The state-of-the-art unit was one of many prizes offered June 9-15.

The sweepstakes continues this week at with multiple goodies up for grabs, including a Moty-Ko Survivor Kit packed with cool tools like a 12-volt cordless impact driver. The monthlong Gear Up Giveaway offers a total of 325 prizes.

To date, the contest has generated much interest including nearly 110,000 entries and nearly
500,000 page views for the Gear Up Giveaway content pages.

Visitors to can sign in to win daily prizes, and there’s no cost to enter. Each entry is also an automatic entry for the grand prize: a 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series boat rig, a Toyota Tundra wrap of a Triton boat with a Mercury 250 engine.

BASS is celebrating 40 years of serving bass anglers around the world.

WBT ANGLERS IN IT FOR CLASSIC BERTH. Taking place this week on Old Hickory Lake out of Gallatin, Tenn., will be a decisive tournament in the Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors.

WBT pros will be competing for a $51,000 top prize and points for WBT Toyota Angler of the Year. The AOY will win a Toyota Tundra and a berth in the Feb. 20-22, 2009, Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La. She will make history as the first woman to qualify for a Classic.

As the third of four regular-season events, the Thursday-Saturday tournament in Tennessee will establish firm leaders in the points race. The WBT Championship, set for Lake Hamilton and Hot Springs, Ark., on Oct. 23-25, will determine the winner of the prestigious crown.

Fishing fans can meet the WBT pros from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT, Wednesday, June 18, at Academy Sports & Outdoors, 2350 Gallatin Pike N., in Madison, Tenn. On Saturday, June 21, the store will host the final-day weigh-in beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The Thursday and Friday weigh-ins will begin at 2:15 p.m. CT at Sanders Ferry Park, 100 Sanders Ferry Road, Hendersonville, Tenn. All WBT events are free and open to the public.

Streaming video and real-time leaderboards will be on through all three days of the competition.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT. “This week has not gone according to plan. I’m on one of the greatest fisheries in the country, and for me to not get a limit … needless to say I’m not real pleased. This will probably be my worst tournament of the season. I don’t like that. But bottom line, I’m still in there.” — Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., the reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, on his stumble at last week’s Bassmaster Elite Series event and fall from third to fourth place in the season’s AOY points race.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit <> . Visit <> for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video, audio clips and more.

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in and <> , the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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