Starks takes first BASS victory

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Starks takes first BASS victory

6/9/08

DECATUR, Alabama - With the odds stacked against him, Jeremy Starks of Charleston, West Virginia, outlasted perennial favorite and three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam to take his first BASS victory Sunday with a four-day total of 78 pounds, 10 ounces, at the Southern Challenge presented by Advance Auto Parts.

Starks played the role of David to VanDam's Goliath at the seventh Elite tournament of the season. VanDam's considerable credentials include two Bassmaster Classic titles, 13 BASS wins and the title of all-time BASS career earnings leader. With the victory, Starks earned $100,000 and moved to 70th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

"You couldn't script it any better than this," said Starks, 35. "If you're going to beat somebody, it can't get any better than beating the best in the world."

Fans can catch all of the action from Wheeler Lake on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, June 14, on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET. Additionally, live, streaming video of the remaining 2008 Elite Series weigh-ins, photo galleries and analysis can be accessed at www.Bassmaster.com.

After Starks, the top five shook out with VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., (78-2) in second; Terry Scroggins of Palatka, Fla., (67-1) third; John Murray of Phoenix (66-0) in fourth and Matthew Sphar of Pavilion, N.Y. (65-2) fifth. Only the top-12 anglers qualified for Sunday.

Despite narrowly missing out on his fourth Elite Series title, VanDam moved to second in the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year rankings. Todd Faircloth, who finished sixth at Wheeler, reclaimed the top spot and leads VanDam by just 18 points. Skeet Reese, the reigning AOY, is third and previous leader Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., slipped to fourth. The full standings can be found below.

In the "Trail to the Trophy" the Elite field is competing for a $250,000 top prize and the majority of qualifying berths into the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. The race will culminate with the final Elite Series event of the 2008 season, the Aug. 7-10 Champion's Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y.

Most anglers in the field were skeptical of Starks' strategy. He found a "magic spot" in practice and didn't fully attack until the final day, opting to manage his fish. In fact, before the final day, he only threw 25 casts to his best spot.

The strategy almost backfired, however; when Starks pulled to his spot Sunday morning he found a local angler there. Starks fumed for 30 minutes, not throwing a cast. Eventually the local pulled off, leaving Starks alone.

In the end, his patience paid off and he boated 21 pounds, 15 ounces, Sunday, the biggest limit of the day. Throughout the tournament, he caught every fish he weighed on a 10-inch Berkley power worm in plum color. He described the winning spot as an "old submerged creek feeding a main channel that had subtle bends in it".

"I was thinking about VanDam all day," said Starks, who had a best finish of ninth before Sunday. "I was having a lot of fun out there talking smack. It's just competition. Now I can't wait to win another one."

Like Starks, VanDam, 40, managed his bite throughout the four days and focused on one spot. He felt he made a bad decision Thursday in not maximizing his opportunities. He used a Strike King sexy shad to boat most of his fish but mixed it up with five to six other lures.

He felt the Sunday bite was much tougher than he anticipated, but he still managed to catch 20 pounds, 0 ounces. His BASS career earnings, now more than $2.8 million, are inching closer to the $3 million mark.

"I had the opportunities to win it," said VanDam, who estimated he lost six fish Sunday. "It's tough to get in position to win, so when I let one slip away I'm definitely disappointed."

Japan's Morizo Shimizu finished in seventh while Elite rookie Corey Waldrop of Fort Worth, Texas, finished ninth.

Next, the Elite Series circuit heads to Kentucky Lake and Gilbersville, Ky. The event will be the eighth of the Elite season and will take place next week, June 12-15.

With 1,063 miles of shoreline, Wheeler is the largest of three Alabama lakes that connect with the Tennessee River. It has been the host of nine BASS events, including the 1974 Bassmaster Classic.

Daily weigh-ins and launches at the Southern Challenge took place at Ingalls Harbor, 701 Market St. NW, Decatur, Ala.

BASS, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2008, conducted the first BASS tournament June 5-7, 1967, on Arkansas' Beaver Lake. The first event, called the All-American Bass tournament, was held by BASS founder Ray Scott, who officially created BASS in 1968 following the success of this first tournament.


Location and Field
Southern Challenge presented by Advance Auto Parts
Wheeler Lake
Decatur, Ala.
June 5-8, 2008

Field
107 pros, 107 co-anglers
Cut to top-50 pros and co-anglers after Day 2
Cut to top 12 pro anglers after Day 3

Launch/Weigh-in
Ingalls Harbor
701 Market St. NW
Decatur, Ala
6 a.m./ 3 p.m.


2008 Bassmaster Elite Series Event Tournament Locations/Dates

March 6-9 Sunshine Showdown Harris Chain of Lakes Leesburg, Fla.
March 13-16 Citrus Slam Kissimmee Chain Lake Wales, Fla.

April 3-6 Lone Star Shootout Falcon Lake Zapata, Texas

April 10-13 Battle on the Border Lake Amistad Del Rio, Texas

May 1-4 Pride of Georgia Clarks Hill Lake Evans, Ga.

May 15-18 Carolina Clash Lake Murray Columbia, S.C.

June 5-8 Southern Challenge Wheeler Lake Decatur, Ala.

June 12-15 Bluegrass Brawl Kentucky Lake Gilbertsville, Ky.

June 26-29 River Rumble Mississippi River Fort Madison, Iowa

July 31- Aug. 3 Empire Chase Lake Erie/Niagara River Buffalo, N.Y.

Aug. 7-10 Champion's Choice Oneida Lake Syracuse, N.Y

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women's Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

-30-

Media contact: Doug Grassian, (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com

SOUTHERN CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY ADVANCE AUTO PARTS

2008 Southern Challenge 6/5-6/8
Lake Wheeler, Decatur AL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Jeremy Starks Charleston, WV 20 78-10 305 $101,000.00
Day 1: 5 17-00 Day 2: 5 19-11 Day 3: 5 20-00 Day 4: 5 21-15
2. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 20 78-02 300 $41,000.00
Day 1: 5 18-08 Day 2: 5 16-14 Day 3: 5 22-12 Day 4: 5 20-00
3. Terry Scroggins San Mateo, FL 20 67-01 300 $26,000.00
Day 1: 5 22-03 Day 2: 5 18-07 Day 3: 5 13-01 Day 4: 5 13-06
4. John Murray Phoenix, AZ 20 66-00 285 $18,000.00
Day 1: 5 16-11 Day 2: 5 18-03 Day 3: 5 15-15 Day 4: 5 15-03
5. Matthew Sphar Pavilion, NY 20 65-02 280 $19,000.00
Day 1: 5 07-13 Day 2: 5 16-00 Day 3: 5 20-00 Day 4: 5 21-05
6. Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 20 65-01 276 $17,500.00
Day 1: 5 20-09 Day 2: 5 11-09 Day 3: 5 19-11 Day 4: 5 13-04
7. Morizo Shimizu Osaka CA JAPAN 20 61-03 272 $15,000.00
Day 1: 5 17-03 Day 2: 5 17-08 Day 3: 5 13-06 Day 4: 5 13-02
8. Matt Reed Madisonville, TX 20 61-02 268 $14,500.00
Day 1: 5 16-12 Day 2: 5 17-10 Day 3: 5 14-15 Day 4: 5 11-13
9. Corey Waldrop Fort Worth, TX 20 58-07 264 $14,000.00
Day 1: 5 14-01 Day 2: 5 09-13 Day 3: 5 21-14 Day 4: 5 12-11
10. Shaw E Grigsby Gainesville, FL 20 54-05 260 $13,500.00
Day 1: 5 18-07 Day 2: 5 17-01 Day 3: 5 07-08 Day 4: 5 11-05
11. Kotaro Kiriyama Moody, AL 20 53-14 257 $12,500.00
Day 1: 5 19-00 Day 2: 5 10-02 Day 3: 5 16-05 Day 4: 5 08-07
12. Mark Menendez Paducah, KY 20 51-11 254 $12,300.00
Day 1: 5 18-01 Day 2: 5 11-10 Day 3: 5 12-03 Day 4: 5 09-13
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PUROLATOR BIG BASS
Day
1 Dave Wolak Wake Forest, NC 07-10 $1,000.00
2 Matthew Sphar Pavilion, NY 06-14 $1,000.00
3 Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 07-13 $1,000.00
4 Matthew Sphar Pavilion, NY 06-01 $1,000.00

PUROLATOR BIG BASS OF TOURN
Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 07-13 $1,000.00

BERKLEY HEAVYWEIGHT
Day
1 Terry Scroggins San Mateo, FL 22-03 $1,000.00
2 Randy Howell Springville, AL 20-04 $1,000.00
3 Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 22-12 $1,000.00
4 Jeremy Starks Charleston, WV 21-15 $1,000.00

BERKLEY HEAVYWEIGHT OF TOURN
Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 22-12 $10,000.00

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 106 532 1238-09
2 102 529 1149-04
3 50 250 646-01
4 12 60 172-04
----------------------------------
270 1371 3206-02

TOYOTA TUNDRA BASSMASTER ANGLER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS

2008 Southern Challenge - Southern Challenge Pro Points After Lake Wheeler, Decatur, Ala. Ending 06-08-2008, Day 4
-------------------------------------------
Place Name St Pts
-------------------------------------------
1 Todd Faircloth Texas 1741
2 Kevin VanDam Mich. 1723
3 Skeet Reese Calif. 1681
4 Mike McClelland Ark. 1664
5 Edwin Evers Okla. 1608
6 Dean Rojas Ariz. 1564
7 Scott Rook Ark. 1539
8 Terry Scroggins Fla. 1496
9 Mark Davis Ark. 1494
10 Alton Jones Texas 1490
11 Fred Roumbanis Okla. 1479
12 Randy Howell Ala. 1471
13 Kenyon Hill Okla. 1449
14 Bobby Lane Fla. 1445
15 Kotaro Kiriyama Ala. 1444
16 Bryan Hudgins Fla. 1443
17 Dave Wolak N.C. 1441
18 Rick Morris Va. 1436
19 Casey Ashley S.C. 1429
20 Brian Snowden Mo. 1428
21 Steve Kennedy Ala. 1420
22 Derek Remitz Ala. 1407
23 Kelly Jordon Texas 1387
24 Morizo Shimizu Japan 1384
25 Bill Lowen Ohio 1382
26 Byron Velvick Texas 1345
27 Jared Lintner Calif. 1340
28 Dustin Wilks N.C. 1335
29 Ish Monroe Calif. 1325
30 Aaron Martens Ala. 1318
31 Shaw Grigsby Fla. 1313
32 Jason Williamson S.C. 1311
33 Bernie Schultz Fla. 1310
34 Chris Lane Fla. 1307
35 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1298
36 Gary Klein Texas 1296
37 Davy Hite S.C. 1294
38 Takahiro Omori Texas 1276
39 Brent Chapman Kan. 1264
40 Mark Menendez Ky. 1262
41 Kevin Short Ark. 1258
42 Jason Quinn S.C. 1252
43 Matthew Sphar N.Y. 1251
44 Tommy Biffle Okla. 1248
45 Denny Brauer Mo. 1238
46 Britt Myers S.C. 1237
47 Peter Thliveros Fla. 1222
48 Timmy Horton Ala. 1218
49 Boyd Duckett Ala. 1217
50 Russ Lane Ala. 1210
51 Bradley Hallman Okla. 1196
51 Cliff Pace Miss. 1196
53 Mike Wurm Ark. 1188
54 Gerald Swindle Ala. 1183
55 Jeff Kriet Okla. 1178
56 Greg Hackney La. 1176
57 Kevin Wirth Ky. 1166
58 Matt Reed Texas 1158
59 Marty Stone N.C. 1151
60 Scott Campbell Mo. 1148
61 Ray Sedgwick S.C. 1143
62 Billy Brewer Texas 1138
63 Brian Clark Texas 1116
64 John Murray Ariz. 1108
65 Mark Tucker Mo. 1089
66 Wade Grooms S.C. 1074
67 Jeff Connella La. 1073
68 John Crews Va. 1066
69 Rick Clunn Mo. 1065
70 Jeremy Starks W.Va. 1064
71 Jon Bondy Canada 1052
72 Preston Clark Fla. 1037
73 Jim Murray Ga. 1036
74 Jimmy Mize Ark. 1031
75 Grant Goldbeck Md. 1030
76 Corey Waldrop Texas 1028
77 Jeff Reynolds Okla. 1010
78 Jay Fuller Okla. 1004
79 Terry Butcher Okla. 1000
80 Marty Robinson S.C. 990
81 Jami Fralick S.D. 983
82 Stephen Browning Ark. 982
83 Ken Cook Okla. 979
84 Yusuke Miyazaki Texas 976
85 Ben Matsubu Texas 967
86 Pat Golden N.C. 961
87 James Niggemeyer Texas 955
88 David Smith Okla. 949
89 Todd Auten S.C. 943
90 Paul Elias Miss. 937
91 Clark Reehm Ark. 931
92 Kurt Dove Va. 927
93 Elton Luce Texas 925
94 Greg Gutierrez Calif. 914
95 Kevin Langill N.C. 905
96 Charlie Hartley Ohio 865
97 Mark Tyler Okla. 854
98 Guy Eaker N.C. 849
99 David Sherrer La. 844
100 Zell Rowland Texas 830
101 Pete Ponds Miss. 825
102 Steve Daniel Fla. 818
103 Glenn Delong Ohio 809
104 Rick Ash Pa. 794
105 James Kennedy La. 755
106 Matt Amedeo Ohio 734
107 Randy Allen La. 670
108 Paul Hirosky Pa. 660
109 Bobby Myers Okla. 438

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

2008 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
After Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL ending 06-08-2008, Day 4
-------------------------------------------
Place Name St Pts
-------------------------------------------
1 Bobby Lane Fla. 1445
2 Billy Brewer Texas 1138
3 Brian Clark Texas 1116
4 Wade Grooms S.C. 1074
5 Corey Waldrop Texas 1028
6 Jay Fuller Okla. 1004
7 Pat Golden N.C. 961
8 Clark Reehm Ark. 931
9 David Sherrer La. 844
10 Randy Allen La. 670
11 Bobby Myers Okla. 438

BERKLEY HEAVYWEIGHT STANDINGS

Berkley Heavyweight Report
Place Name Lbs-Ozs
-----------------------------------------------------------
1 Mike McClelland 246-15
2 Mark Davis 236-12
3 Todd Faircloth 232-11
4 Terry Scroggins 230-13
5 Kevin VanDam 228-10
6 Skeet Reese 228-07
7 Edwin Evers 226-10
8 Dean Rojas 225-02
9 Byron Velvick 224-05
10 Rick Morris 223-13

Media Contact:
Doug Grassian, (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com
 


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