Night of Champions

Two nights before the boats launch on Lake Guntersville for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, the competitors gather for a friendly Night of Champions.

Brandon Palaniuk and David Ittner from Yamaha have ready smiles for the camera.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Brandon Palaniuk and David Ittner from Yamaha have ready smiles for the camera.
The Night of Champions gave Classic contenders and the media who follow them a chance to slow down the pace for a brief spell before competition begins. A portion of the B.A.S.S. team - Jennifer Dome, Louie Stout, Helen Northcutt and Laurie Tisdale - appear to be enjoying a little break.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - The Night of Champions gave Classic contenders and the media who follow them a chance to slow down the pace for a brief spell before competition begins. A portion of the B.A.S.S. team - Jennifer Dome, Louie Stout, Helen Northcutt and Laurie Tisdale - appear to be enjoying a little break.
Jerry McKinnis, co-owner of B.A.S.S., and Tyler Reed, the organization's writer/editor/photographer/social-media-guru extraordinaire, stop for a quick photo.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Jerry McKinnis, co-owner of B.A.S.S., and Tyler Reed, the organization's writer/editor/photographer/social-media-guru extraordinaire, stop for a quick photo.
Don Barone, B.A.S.S. writer; Jim Sexton, B.A.S.S. V.P./Digital, and Kevin VanDam, who needs no introduction.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Don Barone, B.A.S.S. writer; Jim Sexton, B.A.S.S. V.P./Digital, and Kevin VanDam, who needs no introduction.
VanDam and wife, Sherry, are veterans at these events.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - VanDam and wife, Sherry, are veterans at these events.
James Overstreet shoots video as Tommy Sanders interviews anglers.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - James Overstreet shoots video as Tommy Sanders interviews anglers.
Aaron Martens and Pete Robbins talk about the Classic.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Aaron Martens and Pete Robbins talk about the Classic.
Brandon Palaniuk has found his favorite food.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Brandon Palaniuk has found his favorite food.
Madeline and Bobby Lane
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Madeline and Bobby Lane
Brothers Bobby and Chris Lane
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Brothers Bobby and Chris Lane
Skeet Reese spends the evening on the other side of B.A.S.S. photographer James Overstreet's camera.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Skeet Reese spends the evening on the other side of B.A.S.S. photographer James Overstreet's camera.
Randy and Robin Howell
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Randy and Robin Howell
2013 Carhartt Big Bass trophy
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - 2013 Carhartt Big Bass trophy
LeAnn and Gerald Swindle hanging out with Angie and John Skrabo (Pradco)
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - LeAnn and Gerald Swindle hanging out with Angie and John Skrabo (Pradco)
Lauren Byrd and Chris Brown of Rigid Industries LED Lighting
Photo: Seigo Saito - Lauren Byrd and Chris Brown of Rigid Industries LED Lighting
Brandon Palaniuk and his girlfriend, Tiffanie
Photo: Seigo Saito - Brandon Palaniuk and his girlfriend, Tiffanie
Fred and Julie Roumbanis
Photo: Seigo Saito - Fred and Julie Roumbanis
Chris and Holly Lane
Photo: Seigo Saito - Chris and Holly Lane
Yusuke Miyazaki and Takahiro Omori
Photo: Seigo Saito - Yusuke Miyazaki and Takahiro Omori
Morizo Shimizu
Photo: Seigo Saito - Morizo Shimizu
Aaron Martens, Justin Martens and Todd Faircloth
Photo: Seigo Saito - Aaron Martens, Justin Martens and Todd Faircloth
Cliff Pirch and Josh Bertrand
Photo: Seigo Saito - Cliff Pirch and Josh Bertrand
Skeet Reese, the paparazzi
Photo: Seigo Saito - Skeet Reese, the paparazzi
Reese captures Kevin and Sherry VanDam's sweet moment.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Reese captures Kevin and Sherry VanDam's sweet moment.
Brent and Bobbi Chapman
Photo: Seigo Saito - Brent and Bobbi Chapman
Aaron and Lesley Martens
Photo: Seigo Saito - Aaron and Lesley Martens
Jordan Lee
Photo: Seigo Saito - Jordan Lee
Anglers get ready for dinner.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Anglers get ready for dinner.
Mark Zona opens up the banquet.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Mark Zona opens up the banquet.
Nearly 300 guests were in attendance.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Nearly 300 guests were in attendance.
Some of the best moments of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season played on the screen in the banquet hall.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Some of the best moments of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season played on the screen in the banquet hall.
Dave Mercer takes the stage.
Photo: Darren Jacobsen - Dave Mercer takes the stage.
Dave Mercer presented awards for the best video moments of the year.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Dave Mercer presented awards for the best video moments of the year.
Gary Klein was honored for competing in his 30th Classic.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Gary Klein was honored for competing in his 30th Classic.
Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO, congratulated all the anglers on a great season and on making it to the Classic.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO, congratulated all the anglers on a great season and on making it to the Classic.
Akin wished everyone good luck this week.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Akin wished everyone good luck this week.
Tim Humes of Carhartt congratulated all the anglers who caught Carhartt Big Bass throughout the year.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Tim Humes of Carhartt congratulated all the anglers who caught Carhartt Big Bass throughout the year.
The angler with the biggest Carhartt Big Bass of 2013, Matt Greenblatt, received special recognition.
Photo: Seigo Saito - The angler with the biggest Carhartt Big Bass of 2013, Matt Greenblatt, received special recognition.
Tommy Sanders, right, presented the Best Catch of the Year award to Keith Combs.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Tommy Sanders, right, presented the Best Catch of the Year award to Keith Combs.
John Crews and Keith Combs accepted their Century Club belts. Rick Clunn also earned one but wasn't able to attend the banquet.
Photo: Seigo Saito - John Crews and Keith Combs accepted their Century Club belts. Rick Clunn also earned one but wasn't able to attend the banquet.
Aaron Martens delivered a speech to the crowd as the reigning 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Aaron Martens delivered a speech to the crowd as the reigning 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
Chris Zaldain and Trait Crist
Photo: Seigo Saito - Chris Zaldain and Trait Crist
John and Sonja Crews
Photo: Seigo Saito - John and Sonja Crews
Keith Combs shows off his awards.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Keith Combs shows off his awards.
Martens spends time with several B.A.S.S. staffers as the party ends. From left are Maria Sanders, Helen Northcutt, Laurie Tisdale, Martens, Jennifer Dome and Emily Hand.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Martens spends time with several B.A.S.S. staffers as the party ends. From left are Maria Sanders, Helen Northcutt, Laurie Tisdale, Martens, Jennifer Dome and Emily Hand.