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$1.4 MILLION WAL-MART RCL WALLEYE CHAMPIONSHIP
RETURNING TO MISSISSIPPI RIVER
RED WING, Minn. (Aug. 29, 2003) – The fourth annual Wal-Mart RCL Walleye
Championship will return to the Mississippi River near Red Wing Oct. 1-4
with a $1.4 million purse. The sport’s most lucrative tournament features
220 pros vying for a top award of as much as $400,000 cash, the largest
payout in walleye-tournament history. Two hundred and twenty co-anglers
will compete for a top award of $150,000 cash.
Last year, Dr. Bruce Samson of Minnetrista conquered
the mighty Mississippi in Red Wing to claim $300,000 cash, and Samson will
try to defend his title this year to again claim the tournament’s top prize.
“Last year was a dream come true,” Samson said.
“It changed my life and allowed me to just go fishing for a living. I’m
planning on spending as many days (on the river) as possible, trying to
understand the system. I expect a lot of competitors will have figured
it out. I’m just excited to go there again. My goal is to finish 12th after
two days, because then you start over. If I can finish in the top 12, then
I can win.”
According to RCL Tour pro Gary Roach of Merrifield,
the amount of early autumn rainfall on the upper Mississippi will likely
determine angler strategies. If the area has received significant rainfall,
walleyes will likely be found in shallow backwater areas. If the weather
has been dry, Roach is betting on a main-current bite. He says that live
bait, including red-tail chubs, leeches and night crawlers, will likely
claim the most walleyes, but don’t count out Wally Diver crankbaits, which
will likely round out more than a few limits.
Treasure Island Casino and Resort in Welch will
host daily 7 a.m. takeoffs. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-ins will also
be held at Treasure Island beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins
will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1752 Frontage Road in Hastings
beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday. The community is encouraged
to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.
The winning pro is guaranteed a cash award of $150,000.
If the winner is a registered owner of a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat,
he will earn a $150,000 bonus, and if his boat is equipped with an Evinrude
or Yamaha outboard, he will receive another $100,000 for a total cash award
The winning co-angler is guaranteed $75,000 cash
and is eligible for a $45,000 bonus from Ranger, Crestliner or Lund if
he is a registered owner. The winning co-angler will also receive a $30,000
bonus if his boat is equipped with an Evinrude or Yamaha for a total cash
award of $150,000.
Anglers scheduled to appear at the event include
2003 RCL Tour Angler of the Year Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis.,
who will be casting for his first RCL win. Scott Glorvigen of Grand Rapids,
who won the inaugural RCL Championship in 2000, will be back to contend
for yet another lucrative championship crown, and perennial contenders
Tim Minnema of Markesan, Wis.; Mark Martin of Twin Lake, Mich.; and 2001
Champion Dean Arnoldussen of Appleton, Wis., will also be in the hunt for
the $400,000 top prize.
Pros and co-anglers who finished in the top 35 in
any of the four regular-season Wal-Mart RCL Tour events in 2003 qualified
for the championship. The rest of the pro field comprises Ranger, Crestliner
or Lund owners who competed in sanctioned tournaments, and the remaining
co-angler spots were filled by participants in sanctioned events. With
a $3.07 million purse, the RCL Tour is the world’s most lucrative walleye-tournament
The full field will compete on days one and two
for one of 12 semifinal-round spots in their respective division. Weights
are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to
determine the top six pros who will compete in the final round. The co-angler
winner is determined after day-three competition. Final-round pros start
at zero and compete for one day for position and prize money.
The Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship is administered
by FLW Outdoors and named after boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and
Lund. FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing,
is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.
Other FLW Outdoors tournament trails include the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League
for weekend anglers; the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative
bass-tournament series; the EverStart Series, designed as a pathway to
the FLW Tour; the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; and
the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies
support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the
title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors
sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services
they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.
For more information about the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye
Championship, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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