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After Elite 50s, Seven Anglers Find classic Dreams Fulfilled
Kansan Brent Chapman earns spot again

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - After three months of pins-and-needles anticipation,
the final 10 anglers have clinched their berths in the 2004 CITGO
Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer, set for July 30-Aug. 1 in
Charlotte, N.C. Kansan Brent Chapman won his spot earlier in the year with his success in the CITGO Bassmaster Tour.

The final 10 berths were reserved for the top 10 anglers in the Bassmaster Elite 50 series season point standings. Because seven of those 10 anglers had already qualified through the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer, an additional seven anglers slipped in from the
Tour's season points list.

All of those anglers are understandably ecstatic to have a shot at the
$200,000 world championship title, but possibly none more than Texas pro Ben Matsubu. Matsubu, ranked 38th at the end of the Tour season, was the last angler to qualify for bass fishing's top tournament. Because
he qualified for the Elite 50s, he had two shots at making the Classic -
either by finishing in the top 10, or by benefiting from another pro's
double qualification.

Matsubu, a first-time Classic qualifier, said the tension was almost
unbearable.

"It's been like that all year," Matsubu said. "I'm really excited and I
can sleep a little easier now. This being on the bubble is for the
birds, but that's all over now and it's just about the excitement.

"I don't know how others block it out, but I couldn't. My fishing was
off and my focus was off. The whole Elite 50 series, there were two
things on my mind. Would I make the Classic and could I stay in the
Busch Shootout. It seemed like week after week, folks kept saying,
'Man, you still have a shot, they're down to 34th, they're down to
35th,' but now it's all over and I'm in. That's awesome."

Another angler who can finally rest easy is North Carolina pro Jason
Quinn. Quinn, who lives near Lake Wylie, was close to the bubble and
watched the final event intently to find out if he would be able to
participate on his home water during the July 30-Aug. 1 world
championship.

"I'm really excited," said Quinn, who will be competing in his third
consecutive Classic. "I watched the weigh-in every night on the Web
site and was figuring it up every night. After the second night, I
figured it all out and I thought there was no way possible that I wasn't
going to make it."

Although his berth was by no means guaranteed, Quinn took pains to abide by the tournament rules for Classic anglers, which include a long
off-limits period prior to the official practice. All 53 anglers who will be fishing the Classic are set to begin practice for the tournament
June 28-July 2.

"It's been unbelievably hard not to fish Wylie," he said. "I run a
guide service down here as well, so I've been sacrificing some income
waiting for the Elite 50 to be over. I've lived on this lake all my
life and I know where the fish swim. As a matter of fact, I pretty much
know what spot I'll go to first on the first day of the Classic.

"I'm just really excited. Anytime you get to compete in a tournament of
this size on your home water, you have to feel like you have some
advantage. You know, everybody always talks about (how) the hometown
curse always gets you, but I'm pretty confident that I can do well."

In addition to Quinn and Matsubu, the other five anglers who benefited
from the Elite 50 double qualifications include Missouri's Brian Snowden
(in his first Classic appearance), Arkansas' Mike McClelland (second),
Missouri's Randy Blaukat (eighth), Mississippi's Paul Elias (14th), and
Missouri's Mark Tucker (3rd).

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than
20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO
Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, which includes the
all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious
pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard
for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

Local Sponsors include the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission, Visit
Charlotte, the Auditorium-Coliseum-Convention Center Authority, the Rock
Hill Sports and Tourism Council and Time Warner Cable.

CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer Field
BASS Federation - Southern Division
Russ Lane

BASS Federation - Central Division
William Pippen

BASS Federation - Northern Division
Thad Takes

BASS Federation - Western Division
Jeff Boyer

BASS Federation - Eastern Division
George Acord

CITGO Bassmaster Open - Southern Division
Tim Horton
David Walker
Denny Brauer

CITGO Bassmaster Open - Central Division
Edwin Evers
Tim Carroll
Steve Sennikoff

CITGO Bassmaster Open - Northern Division
Art Ferguson III
Kevin Wirth
Chuck Economou

CITGO Bassmaster Open - Western Division
Bink Desaro
John Murray
Skeet Reese

CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer
Gerald Swindle
Michael Iaconelli
Kelly Jordon
Aaron Martens
Scott Suggs
Bernie Schultz
Takahiro Omori
Brent Chapman
Chad Brauer
Davy Hite
Chris Baumgardner
Marty Stone
Brett Hite
Jim Bitter
Lee Bailey
Peter Thliveros
Harold Allen
Mark Kile
Brian Snowden
Mike McClelland
Randy Blaukat
Paul Elias
Mark Tucker
Jason Quinn
Ben Matsubu

Bassmaster Elite 50 Series
Kevin VanDam
Stacy King
Alton Jones
Greg Hackney
Gary Klein
Zell Rowland
Mark Davis
Dean Rojas
Tommy Biffle
Dustin Wilks

2003 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year
Jay Yelas

 

 

 

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