The final push to All-Star Week

Like 90 other Elite Series pros, Howell is hoping to be selected by fans for a final-four spot in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week.

Whether he wins or loses the All-Star election, Randy Howell has become a sharper marketer of himself and stronger emissary for the sport of bass fishing.

He’s no different from most other Bassmaster Elite Series pros, he said.

“It’s made all of us get on our A game to try to get the word out,” he said. “Not just about us as individuals, but for the sport as a whole. It (the campaign) has been a neat opportunity to get more people to recognize our sport.”

Like 90 other Elite Series pros, Howell is hoping to be selected by fans for a final-four spot in the July 23-31 Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Trucks All-Star Week in Alabama. Selection is via daily voting at The online polls close July 10 at midnight, and the four winners will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on July 13.

Howell, who lives in Springville, Ala., would like to stage a last-hour push that will take him to the top of his region (Region 3). Trouble is, he feels he has already pulled out all the stops, from Facebook to family and friends in Alabama and beyond. He said there’s simply nothing else he can think of to do to encourage fans to vote, and to vote for him.

“I’ve been working hard, doing my best, trying to think of creative ways to get the vote,” he said. “If all the people I’ve reached out to would vote, I think this could turn my way.”

Howell is still hoping to see his name in the top-five tally of Region 3. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Because there are 11 pros from the state that’s hosting the postseason, the Alabama vote is being split, Howell theorizes. He quickly became aware that the Alabama candidates know many of the same people.

“A lot of people have told me they want to vote for me, but they also want to vote for Russ Lane, or Tim Horton, or someone else from Alabama,” said Howell, who moved from the Lake Gaston, N.C., area years ago to the state he now calls home.

But that circumstance, Howell added, is somewhat mitigated by the fact that Region 3 doesn’t contain Rick Clunn and Denny Brauer, legends of the sport, or Michael Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby, fishing show TV stars. Those four are among those with instant name recognition, even among people who don’t closely follow the Elite Series, Howell said.

“There’s no substitute for TV time,” he added. “People see a face and name from TV, that gets the vote.”

If Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby weren’t in the same region, Howell said he believes they’d both be voted in because people know them from their TV shows.