SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Bassmaster Elite Series angler Keith Phillips of Calera, Ala., has the Hottest Rig Running, as determined by BASS members and fishing fans who participated in the Hottest Rig Running contest on Bassmaster.com. Phillips' boat outdid 107 other anglers' boat designs.
His boat — featuring a wrap that promotes Pursuing a Dream, a charity that helps disabled people in the U.S. participate in outdoors activities — garnered almost 50 percent of all votes cast in the final round, earning him the grand prize, $10,000 cash.
The Alabama pro became associated with the cause after he met Destin Ware, a physically challenged child, at a celebrity-hunting event. Ware is pictured on Phillips' boat wrap.
"I've dedicated the 2007 season to the disabled people of this country and the work of Pursuing a Dream," Phillips said. "There are nearly 55 million disabled people in the U.S. Too many of them have the desire to get outdoors but are not connected with organizations like Pursuing a Dream that can facilitate a trip."
Phillips, 34, has scored two top-10 finishes in his BASS career, including a third-place showing at Alabama's Lake Eufaula.
John Crews, with his Advance Auto Parts boat design, was the runner-up in the rig contest. Crews received more than 11 percent of all votes in the final round.
Rounding out the top five were Denny Brauer's Strike King boat wrap, in third; Shaw Grigsby's Dick's Sporting Goods Triton in fourth; and Matthew Sphar, whose boat wrap promoted the movie, The Alphabet Killer, in fifth.
The Hottest Rig Running announcement was made during the Day 3 weigh-in of the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon. The tournament will be featured on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 4.
For more information on Pursuing a Dream, visit PursuingaDream.com.