Oklahoma -- June 16, 2002 -- The Women's Professional Bass Fishing Association's Angler of the Year was decided at the Oklahoma Pro/Am Invitational Tournament, the last tournament of the 2002 year series. Emily Shaffer, Smyrna, Tennessee, held off a strong challenge from 5 other professional lady bass anglers to earn the title. Shaffer earned a total of 457 points to capture the honor.
Sheri Glasgow, Muskogee, Oklahoma, was right on Shaffer's heels finishing with 456 points. On the tournament's second day, Shaffer held down 4th place, while Glasgow was in 6th place. There was less than one pound difference in their total weights. Both knew it would come down to the second day of the event.
At the end of the first day, Shaffer commented, "I feel like I have a target on my back, and some excellent lady anglers are aiming for me."
Shaffer brought 8.59 pounds to the scales bringing her total tournament weight to 22.96 pounds putting her in 8th place. Glasgow had to place at least second in the tournament to remove the Angler of the Year honors. Her total weight was 25.23 pounds, which earned her third place. She needed only .73 pounds to capture a second place or .089 pound to win the tournament.
The closeness of the total points required additional record checking from the staff of the WBFA to ensure correctness. The short weight for the announcement only caused additional excitement from the crowd and the lady anglers.
Tour Director Willie Cook stated, "We knew it would be close, but this was tough. Emily has earned the honor, but the other ladies in the running sure made it tough."
The top 30 lady anglers earning points toward Angler of the Year qualified to fish the WBFA Classic Bass Tournament. The Classic will be conducted during the first week in November at a negotiated location.
The Oklahoma Pro/Am Tournament was also the first tournament of the Year 2003 series. Janice Arnold, Gentry, Arkansas, won the event and is currently in the lead for next year's Angler of the Year Award.
The Outstanding Amateur of the Year Award was won co-won by two lady anglers. Ann Hood, Statesboro, Georgia, and Debra Petrowski, Arlington, Texas, ended the year with 470 points. Their win will qualify them to fish the WBFA Classic.
Lonnie Walsh won the Rookie of the Year Award in Havana, Florida. She also qualifies to fish the WBFA Classic.