Everstart Series Announces 2003 Schedule, $3.88 Million Purse
BENTON, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2002) - Competitive bass fishing just keeps getting richer and richer. FLW Outdoors announced Tuesday its 2003 EverStart Series schedule, complete with a $3.88 million purse and a new Western Division. Anglers can now compete in four divisions - Western, Eastern, Central and Northern - for a shot at winning up to $76,900 in the EverStart Series Championship.
"The EverStart Series has been extremely popular with competitive bass anglers since its introduction in 1998," said Charlie Hoover, FLW Outdoors president and CEO. "Our Northern Division was introduced in 2001 and was an immediate hit. Now Western anglers, who are some of the most competitive bass fishermen in the world, can enjoy fishing the same premier circuit as their Eastern counterparts without travelingthousands of miles to compete."
Field sizes for 2003 have grown from 165 to 175 anglers on both the pro and co-angler side of regular-season Central, Eastern and Northern division events, which feature $239,325 payouts. There are four regular-season tournaments per division, and each tournament is four days with the entire field fishing on days one and two. The field is cut to the top 20 pros and top 20 co-anglers for day three, and only the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advance to day four. Entry fees remain unchanged at $650 for pros and $250 for co-anglers. Total payback at each tournament is 152 percent of entry fees.
The top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers from the Eastern, Central and Northern divisions and the top 30 pros and top 30 co-anglers from the Western Division will advance to the $334,700, no-entry-fee EverStart Series Championship, which will be broadcast to an estimated 55 million Outdoor Life Network subscribers. The championship will be held Oct. 29-Nov. 1 on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn. Cash and prizes totaling $76,900 will be awarded to the EverStart Series Pro Division champion, and $32,800 in cash and prizes will be presented to the co-angler champion.
Western Division dates and locations are: Lake Pleasant in Peoria, Ariz., Jan. 29-Feb. 1; Lake Mead in Henderson, Nev., March 5-8; Clear Lake in Clearlake, Calif., April 23-26; and the California Delta in Oakley, Calif., May 28-31.
Eastern Division dates and locations are: Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee, Fla., Jan. 8-11; Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala., Feb. 26-March 1; the Santee Cooper lakes in Manning, S.C., April 2-5; and Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala., June 11-14.
Central Division dates and locations are: Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas, Feb. 5-8; Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., March 26-29; Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky., April 30-May 3; and the Red River in Natchitoches, La., June 25-28.
Northern Division dates and locations are: Lake Vermillion in Tower, Minn., June 4-7; the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., July 23-26; Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio, Aug. 20-23; and Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Sept. 24-27.
Anglers fishing the Pro Division supply boats, control boat movement throughout each tournament and fish for a top award of $61,900 in cash and prizes ($57,900 for Western Division anglers) including a Ranger 518VX Comanche boat and trailer complete with Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics, EverStart batteries and a 200 horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard. Co-angler Division contestants fish from the back deck of each boat for a top award of $27,800 in cash and prizes ($25,800 for Western Division anglers) including a Ranger 518VX Comanche boat and trailer.
Regular-season tournaments in the Western Division feature field sizes of 100 pros and 100 co-anglers and total payouts of $168,950. Entry fees are $650 for pros and $250 for co-anglers. Total payback at each Western tournament is 188 percent of entry fees.
At the end of the season, the top 15 pros and top 15 co-anglers from the Eastern, Central and Northern divisions and the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers from the Western Division receive priority entry into the $5.76 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour where they could win up to $500,000 cash in a single tournament. The top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers from the Eastern, Central and Northern divisions and the top 30 pros and top 30 co-anglers from the Western Division also receive priority entry into the 2004 EverStart Series. Rankings are based on a points system that awards 200 points for a win, 199 points for second, 198 points for third and so on.
Sponsors of the 2003 EverStart Series are Wal-Mart, Banana Boat, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito Lay, Fujifilm, Garmin, Kellogg's, Land O'Lakes, Minn Kota, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Rubbermaid, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley, U.S. Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha.
Champion Boats and Stratos Boats, which now includes the Javelin brand, have joined the EverStart Series as associate sponsors in 2003. This entitles Champion and Stratos/Javelin owners, along with Ranger boat owners, to early entry into the EverStart Series by calling 270-252-1000 or by registering at FLWOutdoors.com. Early entry for anglers who qualified for the EverStart Series through the 2002 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League begins at 8 a.m. CST Nov. 25. Early entry for Ranger owners begins at 8 a.m. CST Nov. 26, while Champion and Stratos/Javelin owners may register beginning at 8 a.m. CST Nov. 27. Tournament entry opens to the general public at 8 a.m. CST Dec. 2. Priority will be given to anglers who enter all four qualifying tournaments in a division by Dec. 5.
EverStart Batteries are sold through Wal-Mart stores and rank as the No. 1-selling battery in the world. For more information, visit EverStartBatteries.com.
FLW Outdoors administers the EverStart Series, Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit. The organization will award up to $20 million to anglers nationwide in 2003. For more information or to enter a tournament, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call 270-252-1000.