She may not fish, but she definitely knows a thing or two about the people who do. Christy McNabb of Kerman, Calif., used that knowledge to claim $100,000 in the richest fantasy sport on the planet.
While the game may be fantasy, the reality is McNabb was the overall point champion during the 2011 season of FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk. Jason Harper, the host of television’s FLW Outdoors, rang McNabb’s doorbell in Kerman at 10 a.m. Monday and surprised her with a replica check for $100,000.
“I never dreamed in a million years this would happen,” McNabb said. “This is absolutely amazing.”
The 38-year-old mother of two admits she didn’t know much about professional fishing before she started playing the free game and had to do all of her own research to keep up with her 20 family members in the Fresno, Calif., area who also play Fantasy Fishing. McNabb said that she and her mother are the only two females in her family who play Fantasy Fishing.
“I’m on Facebook a lot and I used to play FarmVille all the time and my dad talked me into playing Fantasy Fishing,” McNabb said. “I gave up FarmVille because I had no more time for it. I was busy with Fantasy Fishing.”
The 2011 Fantasy Fishing season consisted of 10 tournaments surrounding the Walmart FLW Tour. All the prizes are guaranteed, including $15,000 to the winning player for each of the qualifying events.
Fantasy Fishing participants choose the anglers they anticipate having the highest finish in no particular order. Players receive Angler of the Year points for each angler they have selected in the top 10. Of the 10 selected anglers, each player must choose the angler they think will win the tournament. For a tie-breaker, participants must choose the total weight for the winning angler.
In addition, participants may choose to employ the use of Player’s Advantage, a unique tool that offers additional resources and information to its members. Player’s Advantage members gain access to additional statistics, history on anglers, information about fisheries, weather conditions, plus several additional tips providing them the best advantage for each tournament. Players that had Player’s Advantage won at a rate of four-to-one over those that did not access Player’s Advantage.
McNabb said the $100,000 cash prize couldn’t have come at a better time. McNabb and her husband, who is a 20-year serviceman with the Army stationed in San Francisco, have a daughter with a muscular disorder who has required multiple medical procedures, including one in July that carried a price tag of $20,000. McNabb said the couple recently received three letters in the mail the same day from insurance companies denying coverage for the procedures.
“We’ll be able to have those done now,” said an emotional McNabb. “This weekend was horrible after receiving those letters. This is really going to help us out. I’ve been thinking about this all weekend and the chances of winning this money and how much it would help out. I’ve been doing a lot of praying.”
McNabb’s fantasy sport participation has turned into a very real life-changing experience and said she is already looking forward to the next season, which kicks off with the FLW Tour’s Lake Okeechobee event Feb. 9-12, 2012.
“I think everybody should play Fantasy Fishing,” McNabb said. “I cannot believe I won this much money and it was free to play.”
Terri Hett of Canton, Kan., claimed second place overall and won a Ranger Z-520 boat with a Ranger Trail Trailer, 250 Mercury outboard, Minn Kota Maxxum 80 trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and trolling motor batteries – all valued at $54,000. The mother of two is a self-proclaimed fantasy sports fanatic who enjoys fishing in ponds with her family.
Hett said she started playing Fantasy Fishing as a way to bond with her daughter, who was left severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair after contracting a virus during early childhood. The daughter loves to fish and uses custom fishing equipment, so the Ranger Z-520 boat they won is certain to provide new opportunities for the family to spend more time fishing new waters
Charlie Krueger of Hudson, Wis., finished third and took home a Chevy 1500 Silverado valued at $38,000 for his fantasy picks. Krueger began playing Fantasy Fishing last year after he bought a Ranger boat and said he loves Player’s Advantage and the tools it offers Fantasy Fishing players.
Steven Luce of Dracut, Mass., claimed fourth place and a FinCraft 17 Dual Console boat with a 115 Evinrude outboard that is valued at $27,000 in his third season of Fantasy Fishing. The 27-year-old is an avid fisherman who plays fantasy hockey with his friends, who Luce said questioned his involvement in Fantasy Fishing. The friends quickly became believers, however, after Luce won the first-place prize of $15,000 in the fourth regular-season Fantasy Fishing event.
Rusty Willhoite of Frankfort, Ky., finished fifth and won a BRP Can-Am Outlander 400 All-Terrain vehicle valued at $8,000. The 41-year-old schoolteacher loves to fish and loves Player’s Advantage and said his wife claims he’s “nuts” about Fantasy Fishing.
Sixth- through 10th-place finishers in this year’s FLW Fantasy Fishing won Walmart gift cards ranging in value from $9,000 to $5,000.
For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk or Player’s Advantage, go to FantasyFishing.com.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com