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2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Championship format
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
brumbaugh, henexson take Early Lead In $1.4 million Walleye Tournament
red wing, Minn. (Oct. 2, 2002) — Pro Mark Brumbaugh of Arcanum, Ohio, and his opening-day partner Brandon Henexson of Denver landed a five-walleye limit weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces Wednesday on the Mississippi River to lead the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship — the world’s most lucrative walleye-fishing tournament.
If Brumbaugh can maintain his lead throughout the four-day tournament, he will collect $150,000 cash and up to an additional $250,000 in sponsor bonus money for a total award of $400,000. Henexson is fishing for a top co-angler award of $75,000 cash plus up to an additional $75,000 in sponsor bonuses for a potential award of $150,000. More than 230 competitors will challenge these men in their respective divisions.
“I would’ve been glad to have 15 pounds,” said Brumbaugh, who caught his walleyes on minnows and night crawlers while fishing sloughs in pool No. 3. “I knew this kind of weight was possible. It was just a matter of keeping the right fish.”
Brumbaugh is no stranger to championship walleye fishing. He finished seventh at the inaugural RCL Walleye Championship in 2000 and has finished in the money in nine of the 10 RCL Walleye Circuit tournaments he has fished since then. Last season, he finished second in the circuit’s Angler-of-the-Year ranking.
Henexson, who at 16 is the championship’s youngest competitor, said: “This was awesome. I never expected to fish with Mark because he’s a legend in the sport. It will be hard to sleep knowing that this is the championship and the amount of money that is at stake.”
Henexson’s father, Kenny, also a co-angler fishing in the championship, finished 130th on opening day but expressed pride in his son’s performance. “I think it’s really cool that he’s the youngest member of the tournament,” he said. “We’ve fished a few of these now, and I’ve done well and he hasn’t, so this time he can make Colorado proud.”
Adding to the excitement is a no-culling restriction that forces anglers to decide which walleyes to keep and which ones to release before placing them in a livewell. Once a walleye is placed in a livewell, it cannot be released and replaced with another fish.
Rounding out the top five after opening day are Richard Franklin of Louisburg, Kan., and co-angler James Kraft of Eau Claire, Wis., with four walleyes weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces; Dan Dolinski of Alberta, Canada, and co-angler Don Rosen of Rosemount, Minn., with five walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces; Richard LaCourse of Port Clinton, Ohio, and co-angler William Jakel of Westland, Mich., with five walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 8 ounces; and Joe Wilson of Rolling Stone, Minn., and co-angler Karl Elsner Jr. of Cortland, N.Y., with five walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 6 ounces.
Competition resumes at 7 a.m. Thursday at Treasure Island Casino and Resort in Red Wing, Minn., when competitors from 19 states and Canada take off for the final day of the opening round. Following Thursday’s 3 p.m. weigh-in at Treasure Island, the field will be cut to the top 12 pros and co-anglers. These anglers will advance to the one-day semifinal round Friday where the pros will compete for six spots in the final round and co-angler competition will be decided. Catch weights are carried over during the opening round, but anglers will start the semifinal and final rounds from zero. Weigh-ins Friday and Saturday will start at 5 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively, at the Wal-Mart store located at 225 33rd St. W. in Hastings, Minn. A Family Fun Zone complete with children’s games, interactive product displays and giveaways will be set up at Wal-Mart starting at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.
Named after retail giant Wal-Mart and boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund, the $2.9 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit is the world’s most lucrative walleye-fishing series. With a purse of up to $1.4 million, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship is the most lucrative walleye tournament in the history of the sport. The championship will be broadcast to 45 million Outdoor Life Network subscribers Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m. CST.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit are Wal-Mart, Castrol,
Conseco, Crestliner, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory,
Garmin, Kellogg’s, Lund, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Poulan, Ranger Boats,
Snickers, Stanley, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.
To register for competition or for more information about the Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Circuit, visit www.operationwalleye.com or call 270-362-5259. Entry
fees for the championship are $1,500 for pros and $750 for co-anglers.
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