More than three months away from the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, the full field of 51 anglers was finalized Saturday with Darrell West of Drasco, Ark., winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship Operated by American Bass Anglers and scoring the final Classic berth. Also determined Saturday were two Classic berths from the Bassmaster Central Open circuit. James Niggemeyer of Van, Texas, and Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La., earned those.
Niggemeyer double-qualified for the Classic – first through the Bassmaster Elite Series – and his Classic qualification will come from the Opens, opening the way for Mark Tucker of St. Louis, Mo., to move into the championship based on his position in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
The 40th edition of the Classic will be held Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham. Ala. The field is highlighted by Kevin VanDam, five-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga., who scored the second berth ever for a female angler on the strength of her 2009 Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
Also qualifying were the top 36 anglers in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings derived from the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series; the top two anglers in the Bassmaster Open points standings in each of three 2009 Opens Divisions; six amateur competitors through the 2009 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship and Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., the defending Classic champion.
With competitors who were double qualified, like Reese, BASS worked down the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings to fill the field. The full list of competitors can be found below arranged alphabetically.
“Anglers of all skill levels consider the Bassmaster Classic the most prestigious fishing tournament in the world and qualifying for it is quite an accomplishment,” said Tom Ricks, BASS and ESPN Outdoors vice president and general manager. “We are excited to host the 40th edition of our marquee event in the state where BASS was founded.”
According to BASS rules, Lay Lake will become off-limits to Bassmaster Classic participants beginning Monday, Dec. 14. Anglers will get another crack at the fishery during the official practice period, set for Feb. 12-14, and a final look Feb. 17.
The competition will feature daily launches Feb. 19-21 at Beeswax Creek Boat Ramp. Daily weigh-ins will take place at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
The tournament will receive more than 10 hours of television coverage on ESPN2 during the three-day event.
For related photos of the Classic qualifiers, visit http://www.ESPNOutdoorsmedia.com.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com.
2010 BASSMASTER CLASSIC QUALIFIERS
1. Jody Adkins North Canton, Ohio
2. Casey Ashley Donalds, S.C.
3. Scott Ashmore Broken Arrow, Okla.
4. Tommy Biffle Wagoner, Okla.
5. Denny Brauer Camdenton, Mo.
6. Stephen Browning Hot Springs, Ark.
7. Terry Butcher Talala, Okla.
8. Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, Kan.
9. Cliff Crochet Pierre Part, La.
10. Boyd Duckett Demopolis, Ala.
11. Todd Faircloth Jasper, Texas
12. Jami Fralick Martin, S.D.
13. Jeff Freeman Max Meadows, Va.
14. Shaw Grigsby Gainesville, Fla.
15. Greg Hackney Gonzales, La.
16. Matt Herren Trussville, Ala.
17. Don Hogue Pasco, Wash.
18. Randy Howell Springville, Ala.
19. Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, N.J.
20. Alton Jones Waco, Texas
21. Kelly Jordon Mineola, Texas
22. Steve Kennedy Auburn, Ala.
23. Kotaro Kiriyama Moody, Ala.
24. Gary Klein Weatherford, Texas
25. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, Okla.
26. Bobby Lane Lakeland, Fla.
27. Russ Lane Prattville, Ala.
28. Brent Long Cornelius, N.C.
29. Aaron Martens Leeds, Ala.
30. Pam Martin-Wells Bainbridge, Ga.
31. Billy McCaghren Mayflower, Ark.
32. Mike McClelland Bella Vista, Ark.
33. Mark Menendez Paducah, Ky.
34. John Murray Phoenix, Ariz.
35. James Niggemeyer Van, Texas
36. Takahiro Omori Emory, Texas
37. Cliff Pace Petal, Miss.
38. Randy Phillips Oxford, Mass.
39. Jason Quinn Lake Wylie, S.C.
40. Skeet Reese Auburn, Calif.
41. Dean Rojas Lake Havasu, Ariz.
42. Frank Scalish Cleveland Heights, Ohio
43. Bryan Schmidt Olney, Texas
44. Terry Scroggins San Mateo, Fla.
45. Kevin Short Mayflower, Ark.
46. Gerald Swindle Warrior, Ala.
47. Mark Tucker St. Louis, Mo.
48. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, Mich.
49. Byron Velvick Del Rio, Texas
50. Darrell West Drasco, Ark.
51. Kevin Wirth Crestwood, Ky.
For more than 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 ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, 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 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.