Fishing & Boating News

FLW Outdoors Raises EverStart Series Championship Payout To $1 Million and Adds New Division

by: Dave Washburn, vp comm, FLW Outdoors

(Jul. 14, 2004 - BENTON, Ky.) FLW Outdoors, the nation's leading provider of competitive fishing opportunities, announced Wednesday that the EverStart Series Championship payout will increase from $335,975 to $1 million for 2005. The announcement also included the introduction of a new division to accommodate incredible demand in the existing Eastern Division.

Introduced in 1998, the EverStart Series has grown rapidly to include five divisions with a total purse of $6.24 million in 2005. Anglers will now have the option of competing in the Central, Southeast (formerly Eastern), Northern and Western divisions as well as the new Northeast Division to qualify for the $1 million 2005 EverStart Series Championship, where the winning pro will earn as much as $140,000 and the winning co-angler will earn as much as $70,000 thanks to new contingency awards. The top pro award in 2005 includes a guaranteed payout of $50,000 cash and a Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha plus a Ranger contingency bonus of $25,000 and an Evinrude or Yamaha contingency bonus of $25,000, compared to a top award of $25,000 and a Ranger boat plus a $10,000 contingency bonus in 2004. The top co-angler award in 2005 includes a guaranteed payout of $15,000 cash and a Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha plus a Ranger contingency bonus of $7,500 and an Evinrude or Yamaha contingency bonus of $7,500, compared to a top award of $10,000 and a Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha in 2004.

In the Pro Division, second place in the 2005 championship will pay $25,000 plus $30,000 in contingency bonuses, and third place will pay $18,500 plus $20,000 in contingency bonuses. In the Co-angler Division, second place will pay $5,500 plus $11,000 in bonuses and third place will pay $4,500 plus $6,000 in bonuses. Including bonuses, 10th place will pay $18,000 in the Pro Division and $6,000 in the Co-angler Division, and anglers finishing as low as 50th place in each division will earn as much as $6,000 and $2,000, respectively.

"The EverStart Series delivers high-caliber tournament action where up-and-coming anglers can test their mettle against veteran pros to see if they have what it takes to make it at the highest levels of the sport," said Charlie Hoover, president and chief executive officer of FLW Outdoors. "With its lucrative payouts and popularity in the media, the series has helped launch many careers on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour while simultaneously providing fishing opportunities for anglers who simply enjoy high-level competition."

The Southeast Division kicks off the 2005 season Jan. 5-8 on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla., followed by the Western Division opener Jan. 26-29 on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The Central Division starts Feb. 23-26 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas, and competition in the new Northeast Division begins June 1-4 on Kerr Lake in Henderson, N.C. Northern Division competition begins July 6-9 on the Detroit River in Detroit. The complete 2005 EverStart Series schedule will be posted at later this year.

The top 40 pros and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the EverStart Series Championship on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., Nov. 2-5. The championship will be broadcast to 65 million subscribers of the Outdoor Life Network on "FLW Outdoors." Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on. The top 10 pros and co-anglers in each division will also receive a guaranteed spot in the 2006 Wal-Mart FLW Tour.

Field sizes remain the same for 2005, with 200 pros and 200 co-anglers comprising a full field, and entry fees will increase slightly. Pro entry fees will increase from $650 to $750, and co-angler entry fees will increase from $250 to $300.

In the EverStart Series‚ pro and co-angler format, the pro supplies the boat, controls boat movement and competes against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers.

Anglers will compete for as much as $262,125 in cash and prizes during each regular-season event based on full fields. The winning pro is guaranteed $10,000 cash plus an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries. Winners who are original owners of Ranger boats are eligible for a $10,000 cash bonus for a top pro award of $60,000 in cash and prizes. Winning co-anglers are guaranteed $5,000 cash, and if they are registered Ranger owners, they will receive a new Ranger boat for a total prize package of $35,000. Cash awards are presented through 60th place.

Each tournament is a four-day event, with the full field competing for two days for one of 20 semifinal-round slots in both the pro and co-angler divisions. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to earn a spot in the 10-angler final round in each division. Weights carry over into the final round for the top 10 pros and co-anglers, and the winners are determined by the heaviest two-day accumulated weight.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the nation's leading provider of quality bass and walleye tournaments through the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League.

Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events.

For more information about entering the EverStart Series call (270) 252-1000.

Division Opener Dates
$6.24 Million 2005 EverStart Series
Lake City, State
Southeast Division
Jan. 5-8
Lake Okeechobee Clewiston, Fla.
Western Division
Jan. 26-29
Lake Havasu Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Central Division
Feb. 23-26
Sam Rayburn Jasper, Texas
Northeast Division
June 1-4
Kerr Lake Henderson, N.C.
Northern Division
July 6-9
Detroit River Detroit, Mich.
EverStart Series
Nov. 2-5
Pickwick Lake Florence, Ala.