MUSKEGON, Mich. — Take 14 of the best and most popular Bassmaster Elite Series pros of 2013 and challenge them to catch bass from lakes most of them have never seen, let alone competed on, and what happens?
It’s pure fun. It’s the Evan Williams Bourbon Championship, and it’s happening Sept. 27-29 during Toyota All-Star Week in Muskegon, Mich.
The Elite pros will go head-to-head in a $100,000 competition. At the same time, eight college student anglers will compete for a coveted 2014 Bassmaster Classic berth in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket. A Sept. 29 Folds of Honor Foundation Pro-Am, presented by ARE, will pair Elite pros with veterans and guests of Folds of Honor.
Fans not only can enjoy the daily take-offs and weigh-ins, they will be treated to the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo as well as the music, activities and food at the Family Fun Fall Festival organized by the local host, the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The competitions will be covered online at Bassmaster.com. Features include live video of the weigh-ins, real-time leaderboards, extensive photo galleries, daily results, Lowrance War Room coverage and analysis, and on-the-water blogs and BassCam video. All online access is free.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Championship competition will kick off Friday, Sept. 27, with all 14 Elite pros on Muskegon Lake for two days. Only the Top 4 after Day Two will advance to the final round Sunday on White Lake. With their weights zeroed, those pros will start from scratch on the different fishery.
The pro with the heaviest five-fish limit from White Lake will claim the All-Star title and first-place prize of $50,000.
All 14 earned their way into All-Star Week. Eight finished the regular Elite season atop the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings: AOY winner Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala.; Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.; Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla.; Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas; Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas; John Crews of Salem, Va.; and Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif.
Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., qualified as the 2013 Bassmaster Classic champ, and Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., qualified as the 2013 Rookie of the Year.
The final four pros worked to be elected by fans through voting at Bassmaster.com. Those pros are Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, who was the top vote-earner; Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J.; Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif.; and Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala.