2009 Bassmaster Classic Red River - Shreveport, LA, Feb 20 - 22, 2009

Not about to ruin shotsbat the Classic

Crowds force CenteryTel Center into lockdown

Jay Evans

 BOSSIER CITY, La. — Jay Evans just gained the respect of Jami Fralick and Brian Snowden.

 Evans, who qualified for the Classic from Federation Nation Western Division, relinquished the spot that helped him make the cut in his first Bassmaster Classic.

 "I won't be there tomorrow," said the angler from Corvallis, Mont. "I already told him that ... because he's got a chance to win it. I think I could go in there and get another 15-, 16-pound sack. But what does that get me? Gets me a little bit more money, but it could get them a lot more money."

 On Saturday, Evans pulled into the large area Fralick and Snowden have shared over the first two days and brought in 15 pounds, 9 ounces for a 25-5 total. Fralick leads the Classic after Saturday's 19- 6 with a 38-9 total. Snowden, who brought in 19- 4 from the area Saturday, is sixth at 34-13.

 With a good job as an immunology research scientist and a great wife and kids, Evans isn't planning a run to the Elites any time soon. Despite practicing in the area, he said he couldn't live with himself if he cost either a shot at a Classic title.

 "I would hate to see me on ESPN cameras tomorrow catching an 8-pound fish in sight of Jami. That would be bad," he said. "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night doing it any other way. So it's the right thing to do."

 Fralick, who met Evans once years ago at a Federation Nation Championship, was approached by Evans after both had weighed in.

 "I respect him for coming up," Fralick said. "He said, 'Jami, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that's where you and Brian had been catching them. I won't come in there tomorrow.' I said, 'I appreciate that.'

 "I would have done the same thing in his position. I would not want to be reason why somebody didn't win."

 Fralick said he will continue to share the area with Snowden, who is not out of the title hunt by any means. After Evans told him he was vacating the spot, Snowden said that was admirable.

 "No one is saying anything like you can't come in or anything like that," Snowden said. "I would want someone to treat me the way they would want to be treated. If he was in the lead or in the first two or three spots, I would definitely say come back, but this will come back and help him sometime."

 It brings up the question of spot etiquette, and who has rights to shared waters once a tournament is on the line, especially the Classic.

 "And as long as you're cordial and talk about it, everything gets worked out pretty easily," said Snowden, who works together with Fralick through the Elite season. "Even if we weren't friends, because I was there the first day and the second day, to me, we both have the rights. Someone comes in the second and third day, they really don't have the right to do that.

 "I think what (Evans is) doing is what's fair and what's right."

 Evans said the area was large and he could have asked which side Fralick and Snowden planned to fish and then headed to the other side, but he didn't even want to try that.

 "It's not worth it to screw someone else out of a chance to win the Classic," Evans said.

 CenturyTel Arena goes into lockdown

 Amid lines of people wearing camo jackets, "Got Jesus" T-shirts and autographed Yamaha hats, a meandering woman asked someone wearing a Classic jacket, "Are you someone official?"

 She wanted to know if the crowds outside the CenturyTel Center were for "the concert." The Zac Brown Band was to perform before the Day Two weigh-in for the 39th Bassmaster Classic.

 Funny thing. She didn't know what that was, the Classic. She wanted to hear the band and its hit "Chicken Fried."

 Oh, she got to hear it, as did many others who came solely for the half-hour concert. Late-arriving fans of the fishing, however, were locked outside when the Bossier City Fire Marshall closed the building. The arena staff shut the doors, locked the gates and didn't let anyone else in.

 No one was allowed in the building after the count hit the fire code limit of 9,500.

 The doors were opened for the free events at 4 p.m. ET. The people piled in quickly for the 4:15 concert but the Fire Marshall and his staff counting heads had CenturyTel Center General Manager Mike Cera quickly slow the flow before the call for lockdown.

 "We started trickling folks in and starting cutting down some areas and monitoring it closer when we got to 9,000," said Cera, who added that not locking up was not an option. "We're going to have issues with the Fire Marshall at that point. We have a great working relationship with the Fire Marshall and it gets to a point where we don't want to jeopardize anybody's safety."

 The arena has had its share of capacity crowds before. Hannah Montana sold out in 1 minute, 30 seconds. The National Black Rodeo sold out and had people wait outside hoping to get in, a staff member said.

 On Saturday, Cera was asked what he thought was the main draw, the Zac Brown Band or the Bassmaster Classic?

 "I think both," Cera said. "Obviously, the fish people are waiting to get in."

 Buck Yates of Zwolle, La., which is near famous fishery Toledo Bend, and his family were among the several hundred fans standing on the wrong side of the doors waiting to get in for the Classic. But he never thought the hour and a half drive would be fruitless.

 "Kinda, sorta," he said. "They were telling us when the concert was over that a lot of people were going to be leaving and they were going to be letting people in."

 Some Zac Brown fans skedaddled, emptying precious seats for the Classic fans.

 "We took a tally of people leaving after the concert and we're letting them all in now," Cera said.

 Problem averted. Now people like the Yates could cheer on their favorite Bassmaster.

 "My wife, she's a VanDam person," he said. "She used to work at a place called Toledo Tackle and met him. The weigh-ins already started? We'll, we got to get going."


 "I should get Invisalign as a sponsor because their braces have worked so well on me. You should have seen a picture of me before I started using them. Today I was worried about losing them because I was eating so much I couldn't leave them in."
Aaron Martens, after finding his invisible braces in his pocket after finishing the day in fifth place

 "I would hate to see me on ESPN cameras tomorrow catching an 8-pound fish in sight of Jami. That would be bad."
Jay Evans, who won't fish near Classic leader Jami Fralick on Sunday

 "The first time you come here, you don't know what to expect. The second time you know why you're here and you're here to win."

 — Jami Fralick