Over 7,000 outdoor enthusiasts clicked through the turn styles at the Sevierville Bass Pro Shops this past Saturday (5/22) to experience Bass Pro Shop’s annual “Go Outdoors” event and the 2010 River Bassin Tournament Trail action. The eco-friendly tournament trail continued to grow at this stop with a final tally of 30 anglers, from 7 states competing to take home over $5000 in prizes and be eligible to earn points towards the River Basser of the Year in which $21,500 in prizes are at stake. Fans can click the following link to view all the photos from the Sevierville event – Slide Show or link to album.
After learning a lot in Atlanta, the Sevierville leg was an even more polished event which made it more enjoyable for fans, anglers, sponsors and our host Bass Pro Shops. The festivities began at 10am on Friday morning when the tournament committee arrived to set up the “tailgate campsite” area that is always the hub for all tournament activity. This hub is set up around the $15,000 grand prize True North Outdoor Support Vehicle, with all other sponsors and prizes being represented on tables for the anglers and numerous outdoor consumer to check out on their way into the store. The sponsors that had a separate table/area were True North, Jackson Kayak, NuCanoe, Kokatat and the Bass Pro Ascend Kayaks. Additional sponsors were represented on one “sponsors table” and banners were hung to represent the ALS Association, in which the tournament aims to benefit in honor of Phillip Mays.
At 7pm the contestants entered the Bass Pro Shops archery room where the pre-tournament rules meeting was held and the measuring devices and special icon were handed out. This tournament’s special icon was a NuCanoe carabiner that anglers easily attached to their measuring device. Contestants also received their early entry prize packages at this meeting which ranged in value from $70-$100 and had products donated by the following brands – Backwater Paddles, Ice Mule, Tru-Tungsten, Kayak Angler Magazine, Cablz, The Gorilla Glue Co., and RiverBassin.com
The following day the tournament hub was again set up around 10:30am and tournament organizers, fans and early arrivals began the tailgating atmosphere, while also helping out the numerous passerbys who had questions about the trail or any of the products on display from the sponsors. Most of the anglers began to arrive between 3:30 and 4:30 and much to their delight the hungry fishermen were treated to hot dogs and hamburgers courtesy of RiverBassin.com. As they enjoyed the food and drink stories of the day were shared, especially the typical “one that got away” tale. Tournament director and MC, Drew Gregory, and his staff were busy inside working on the “results show” presentation.
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The show usually begins with the Backwater Paddles Young River Bassers Division, but at this stop we only had one very young participant give it a go but unfortunately he was unable to come up with a fish. However, the tournament still recognized Tanner Chesney on stage with a t-shirt for his brave efforts for such a young river basser.
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The Kokatat Casual Angler Division was the next to be scored via this new “virtual” slide show format. Tim Emberton , from Nicholasville, KY barely took the win by 1/4 of an inch with three smallmouth that went 43.75 inches. Lane Wright from Alabama finished up in a close second place at 43.5 inches. According to one source Lane made a stop on the way back at a
|Kokatat Casual Anglers||Inches|
|1. Tim Emberton||43.75|
|2. Lane Wright||43.5|
|3 .1 Mickey Miller
3.2 Dave Rodrigue
bridge and caught what may have been a 10 inch bass, but forgot to bring his measuring device down with him and figured it really wouldn’t have added much length anyway so he threw it back. His smallest was a 9.5 so if that fish was 10 inches, it could have been the most important 10 inch fish of his life by giving him the lead. I guess we’ll never know now.
One thing we do know is that Mickey Miller from Kentucky finished in 3rd place and won the NuCanoe big fish award with his 18.5 inch smallmouth, despite a tie breaker oversight that had Dave Rodrigue, from Greenville, SC on stage. Technically they tied at 42 inches but according to the rules the biggest fish between the two is the tie breaker, and that went to Mickey. Mickey will receive an Ice Mule cooler and lures from Spro Lures for his big fish.
For winning the Kokata Casual Angler Division Tim took home an Ascend Kayak from Bass Pro Shops as well as a $100 gift card, lures from Tru-Tungsten and a RiverBassin.com shirt. Lane won a kayak paddle as well as the lures from Tru-Tungsten and a tournament trail t-shirt. For placing third Mickey will also receive lures from Tru-Tungsten, a Backwater Hand Paddle and a shirt.
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The anticipation built as it was now time to announce the winners of the Jackson Kayak Avid Angler Division. The slide show presentation was laid out as to where each angler’s smallest fish was shown and then the results from that round were displayed to the audience The three anglers who came on stage, Ben Adrien, Justin Wallace and Will Dalton were representing the youth in this sport and showed that even though they may not be as experienced, they know how to catch river bass.
By the time the final fish were to be shown we had a tie at the top between Justin Wallace, from Bowling Green, KY, and Ben Adrien from Johnson City, TN who both had 34 inches. It would all come down to a one fish tournament between the two. Despite his final fish being a solid 18.75 inch smallmouth, Justin had to settle for second because Ben Adrien hit the equivalent of a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with his 23.25 inch largemouth bass! The crowd went wild as the photo of Ben’s hawg was shown on the screen. The next slide showing the actual length was only a mere formality at that point because everyone knew that she was over 18.75 inches. Ben said he caught the largemouth on a 4-inch Mission Fish swimbait thrown beside a perfect looking blowdown and to make it even sweeter he says it is his biggest river largemouth in TN.
Ben was excited because being the champion meant he was able to take home a brand new Jackson Kayak, a $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card, lures from Tru-Tungsten and a RiverBassin.com shirt. Ben also took home the NuCanoe big fish honors for his final 23.25 inch largemouth bass. For that he was awarded 1 free oil change from Jiffy Lube, some Spro Lures, a Backwater Hand Paddle and a Ice Mule Cooler. The good news for Ben doesn’t end there as he also is tied for the lead in the True North River Basser of the Year (RBOY) race with 110 points (100 for 1st and 10 for big fish), along with ATL champion Hal Lambert and consistent top finisher Brian Conway.
The winner of the RBOY race will receive the fully rigged $15,000 outdoor support vehicle (camper) from True North that travels with the trail to all stops. Second place for the RBOY will get an all expenses paid peacock bass fishing trip to the Amazon ($4000) courtesy of Amazon Expeditions. Third place for the RBOY will receive a brand new 12 foot NuCanoe.< Current RBOY standings >
Although Justin placed second it is almost like he won because he loaded up a brand new NuCanoe and took it home with a big smile on his face. He also received lures from Tru-Tungsten and a tournament trail t-shirt. Justin also will get 90 points towards the True North River Basser of the year award.
Will may have placed 3rd but still took home some nice stuff as well, headed by a new Kokatat PFD valued at $120.00. He also was awarded lures from Tru-Tungsten, a $50 Bass Pro Shops gift card and a tournament t-shirt. 3rd place puts him at 80 points towards the RBOY award and in good position to make a run at the True North OSV.
After taking it all in the second leg was a huge success and a big thanks needs to go out to the staff at the Sevierville Bass Pro Shops, specifically General Manager Chris Vaden, Operations Manager Billy Harmon and Promotions Coordinator Gayle Chesney for being such great hosts and for believing in this trail. Thanks again to all sponsors, partners and hosts. See you in Birmingham on June 5th!