Gadsden, Alabama, November 11, 2000 - Sylvia Graham took the lead on the first competition day of the Womens BassFishing Association (WBFA) 2000 Classic World Championship and never looked back. The Valparaiso, Indiana pro led the field by less than two pounds after the first day, by almost three pounds after day two, and won the prestigious tournament by weighing over 6 pounds more for the tournament than 2nd place finisher Cindy Hill.
"I caught fish on a Stan Sloan Zorro spinnerbait," revealed the new champion. "And I landed some with a crankbait that I lost yesterday. And I didn't have another one," she said.
Twenty-six of the world's top professional anglers competed for the title of World Champion by bass fishing the Coosa River on Lake Neely Henry. They are Womens Bass Fishing Association (WBFA) members who amassed the highest number of points on the WBFA 2000 Tour.
Hill, the second-place finisher from Smyrna, Tennessee, was fishing in her first WBFA Classic Championship event. "I caught my fish on a Baby N and a spinnerbait," said Hill, who weighed the heaviest catch on day two with a whopping 16.17 pounds landed. Her 6.55-pound catch on the final day moved her into second place ahead of Bernice Wilkes of Moultrie, Georgia.
Wilkes was the leader for the Championship, with just five anglers left to weigh in. This is even though she boated only three keepers that weighed 4.9 pounds. "I fished over 15-foot water and was casting into 5-foot water," said Wilkes. "But today, someone beat me to every one of my spots."
Finishing in 4th place was regular competition winner Sherrie Brubaker of Warner, Oklahoma. The 5th place angler was Janice Arnold of Gentry, Arkansas. Penny Berryman, the Dardanelle, Arkansas pro, landed the big fish of the final day. Her lunker weighed 4.2 pounds.
Weigh-in each day was at Gadsden City Park Launch and Marina. Famed bass fishing industry entrepreneur Ray Scott was weigh master for the event. Saturday's final weigh-in saw a huge crowd enjoying the excitement. A free live concert by Nashville country star Bobby Bare entertained those attending. In addition, sponsors' products were distributed to youngsters in the crowd by the WBFA pros and others.
For winning the 2000 Classic, Graham won a fully rigged Triton TR-19 bass boat featuring a 150 HP Mercury EFI engine, three Humminbird Depth Finders, Minn Kota Maxxum 74 trolling motor, three Deka Marine Master Batteries, and a 14K Gold championship ring. A banquet in her honor was held following the final day of the competition.
In addition to WBFA, sponsors of the 2000 WBFA Classic was the State of Alabama, City of Gadsden, Alabama, Mercury Outboard Engines, Triton Boats by Earl Bentz, Flowmaster, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Minn Kota, Humminbird Electronics, Deka Marine Master Batteries, Reyes Del Mar Jewelers, Brown Oil Company(Exxon) and Eidolon Bait Company.