Among those floating on either side of the bubble going into Oneida are Michael Iaconelli, Marty Robinson, Keith Combs, Andy Montgomery, Mike McClelland, Jamie Horton and Britt Myers.
Tommy Biffle, also riding the bubble, is in a unique position. He’s been in 17 Classic competitions — but not 2012’s. To skip it again, when the Classic will be on Grand Lake in his home state of Oklahoma, would mean heartache.
If he misses his Oneida shot, he’d have one more chance through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open’s “win-and-you’re-in” rule. The event will be on his home lake, Fort Gibson. He won an Elite event there in 2011 (and, in the same year, an Open on the Arkansas River near his home).
“But I want to get it done on Oneida,” said Biffle.
His Oneida history is strong and consistent: a win in 2006, 15th in 2007, 16th in 2008 and eighth place in 2009. He’s done well targeting largemouth, often the winning pattern in Elite events on Oneida, but he might end up chasing smallmouth instead.
“There’s going to be a time when there’s enough of us fishing for largemouth that there won’t be as many big ones to go around, and the smallmouth will win,” Biffle said. “I’ll stick with whatever will get me into the Classic.”
For the Elite pros low on the points list, the “win-and-you’re-in rule” is the only door still open to the 2013 Classic. Also carrying a $100,000 first prize, the Oneida event title is on the wish lists of all 97 Elite pros.
The Ramada Championship will receive all-out coverage on Bassmaster.com. Onsite, fans are invited to watch the morning launches and weigh-ins in the afternoon.
The pros will launch their boats at Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton, N.Y., at 7 a.m., Aug. 23-24, and at 6:30 a.m., Aug. 25-26. The first two days, the weigh-ins will be at the park beginning at 4 p.m.
On the two final days, Aug. 25 and 26, the action will shift to the infield at The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. The family-friendly Bassmaster Elite Series Expo will open at noon. The weigh-ins on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 4 p.m. During the tournament, the Angler of the Year will be crowned.
Host organizations include the Syracuse Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Onondaga County Parks, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and The Great New York State Fair.