2011 Elite Series - Diamond Drive Arkansas River - Little Rock, AR, Jun 9 - 12, 2011

AOY over? Maybe, maybe not

James Overstreet

About the author

Steve Bowman

Steve Bowman

Steve Bowman is a veteran outdoor writer, covering B.A.S.S. for almost three decades. He’s currently the editor/manager for tournament coverage on Bassmaster.com.

DECATUR, Ala. -- If you were a betting man, then it would be easy to say that the odds are in Kevin VanDam’s favor to win a seventh Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

It would be hard to argue the point. VanDam made a strong case today (finishing in 8th place with 15 pounds, 6 ounces) that you can’t bet against the guy we used to call the Kalamazoo Kid. Now he’s just plain KVD, and he extended his AOY lead from 55 points to 134 points over Edwin Evers and 139 points over Steve Kennedy.

A small limit tomorrow with a 50th place or better finish and he could wrap up things. But that assumes a lot of things. For instance, that Evers has a fork in him and is done. Evers doesn’t think so.

“I’ve caught some of my biggest stringers in the later days of a tournament,’’ he said, almost defiantly after today’s weigh-in.

The point was so well-taken, that if you were a betting man you would feel like laying down the money on the semi-long-shot. Evers finished the day in 43rd with 11-10. Kennedy, on the other hand, is just 5 points behind Evers, after an 18th place start with 14-4. Both would need an Ott DeFoe-esque kind of day to continue making a run at it, while VanDam would need to stumble and bumble his way through the day.

What are the odds?

After last week on the Arkansas River, where VanDam showed us a human side with just two keepers on Day Three, then I guess the odds are at least possible a stumble could happen.

After watching the determination in the face of Evers all season long, the kind of day he needs is more than possible. Knowing Kennedy, anything is possible. The destiny of that title, though, lies in VanDam’s hands, the exact place he wanted it to be on this day.

The bigger story might be how the standings have changed.

DeFoe (4th in AOY) is sewing up his opportunity to appear in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week. Terry Scroggins (5th), Davy Hite (6th), Swindle (7th) and Casey Ashley (8th) are all sitting pretty for that.

On the Classic front, David Walker, Greg Hackney, Peter T and Kelly Jordon jumped in the Classic after starting the day outside of that list.

There is a whole list of guys on the verge of falling out. And another list of guys poised to jump in.

There are a lot of moves and shakes going on in the standings. Chances are good there will be more changes on Day Two.

You can bet on that. The KVD thing? That’s up to you.

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