As Brauer enjoyed the view from atop bass-fishing's highest mountains, a wild wave smashed into his boat while he competed in a 1999 tournament on Lake St. Clair near Detroit.
"It was the landmark accomplishment of my career," said 1991 champion Ken Cook. "It was the achievement that brought me to the top of the mountain professionally and has made a big difference in the rest of my life."
The Classic is the most prestigious, most watched, most exciting, most heavily anticipated, most publicized and the most lucrative tournament of all. It is simply the most important contest in competitive fishing.
Bryan Kerchal, 23, of Newton, Connecticut, ignored the odds to become the only "amateur" to claim the coveted Classic Champion title and the $50,000 prize that accompanied it. The 24th annual Classic was held July 28-30, 1994, in High Rock Lake, N.C.