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The Mercury Championship, with the best walleye
anglers in the
world, takes place Sept. 12-14, in Houghton, Michigan. This will
first time for the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) pros
Keweenaw Waterway, the first time with stage festivities in the Michigan
Tech ice arena, and the first time fishing for $1,000,000.
After a grueling six-tournament series of high-stakes
events, the top qualifiers earned the right to compete in the Mercury
Championship. They are led by Angler of the Year Bill Ortiz,
Wis., who also has a personal goal. As a Mercury outboard owner
Team member, if he wins the Championship, it will be worth an extra
$250,000, courtesy of Mercury. Anglers of the Year have won Championships,
but not in the same year. "Yes, I'll be working hard, and have
days graphing and looking (not fishing) prior to the closed period,"
Ortiz and fellow competitor Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna,
Wis. were the
only two pro anglers to have won money in every tournament this season.
Kavajecz is the number two ranked pro in 2003, coming off a Championship
victory last year. This field represents 34 PWT wins, eight Anglers
Year, seven Optima Top Guns and six past champions.
The Championship fishery includes some of the largest
Michigan. Walleyes in the "teens" are caught every year, including
pushing the state record, 17 pounds, 3 ounces. If that weight
during the competition, it will mean a $1,000,000 prize from Quantum
Performance Tuned rods and reels. If it's broken on day one,
will have to wait until the final person crosses the Ice Arena stage,
because the award goes to the largest fish that exceeds the mark.
The Championship anglers will unveil the complexity
of the 27-mile
long Keweenaw Waterway and its two lakes, Portage and Torch, and Lake
Superior's Keweenaw Bay. Only a couple pros have experience on
so it will be "new water" for the 51-person field.
The stage show with music, lights and trophy walleyes
takes place at
Michigan Technological University's MacInnes Ice Arena. A Saturday
Sunday Sportshow will be held in the adjacent Gates Tennis Center.
opportunities to meet the pros in one-on-one sessions and formal seminars
(and a chance to fish with them on the VIP/Celebrity Day) will be held
throughout Championship week. All are free, and kids especially
encouraged to attend. On Sunday, the first 1,000 kids in the
Shakespeare rods and reels.
Media friends are invited to join the festivities.
Peninsula is loaded with great stories -- salmon, trout, smallies,
history, ethnic and more). To find out more about lodging and
contact media coordinator Jim Junttila, 906-337-1866, or e-mail Jim
If you require more information including stats and
contestants, check the PWT web site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.
Qualifiers come from 12 states (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nebraska,
Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan,
The Championship schedule of activities follows.
Feel free to
contact PWT headquarters directly, 218-824-2542, or reply to this e-mail
you have any questions.
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