FLW Tour to Visit Beaver Lake for $1.5 Million Wal-Mart Open
May 02 , 2007
ROGERS, Ark. — The $9.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour will stop in Rogers, Ark., May 17-20 for its fourth regular-season tournament, the $1.5 million Wal-Mart Open presented by Folgers . The tournament, which ties the 2005 Forrest Wood Cup as the richest tournament ever held in the state, will feature 400 anglers from 37 states, Australia and Japan fishing for top awards of $200,000 cash in the Pro Division and $40,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.
“This Beaver Lake event will be like no other Beaver Lake event we've ever fished,” said Wal-Mart pro George Cochran, who finished 25th in April's FLW Tour event at Lake Norman. “Right now the water is way up and in the bushes, and it has been a long time since it's been that way. That's going to spread the fish and the fishermen out a lot.”
The Hot Springs, Ark., angler said the majority of the fish will have spawned by the time the tournament begins, so anglers won't be able to rely on the sight-fishing techniques they have in the past for the Wal-Mart Open.
“For the past three years, we've had pretty much the same tournament at Beaver Lake,” Cochran said. “It was during the spawn, and everybody sight-fished. This time, we're going at a different time of year, and it will be a different situation.
“It will be an exciting tournament because there will be a lot of topwater fish caught once they start moving out on the points,” Cochran added. “There will be many different ways guys catch fish. A lot of guys will be flipping. It's not going to be your usual spinning rod and shaky-head tournament.”
Cochran said he wouldn't venture a guess as to what weights would make the cutoff or what it would take to win the tournament. He said anglers' bags would vary greatly depending on the weather and water levels during the tournament.
“Beaver Lake is well known for the Corps of Engineers pulling the water way down,” Cochran said. “We may get there, and the water could be all the way out of the bushes. And we could have a lot of rain, and the water could be way up in the bushes. If that's the case, there's going to be some big stringers weighed in.”
Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. Central time each day from Prairie Creek Marina located at 1 Prairie Creek Marina Drive in Rogers. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at Prairie Creek Marina beginning at 3 p.m.
Kent Rylee Chevrolet, located at 2100 S. Eighth St. in Rogers, will host Chevy Pro Night featuring Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, Luke Clausen, Kim Stricker, Dion Hibdon and David Fritts from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. These anglers, who together account for nine FLW Tour victories and more than $3 million in winnings, will visit with fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. Fans attending Chevy Pro Night at Kent Rylee Chevrolet can also register to win fishing rods, fishing tackle, die cast Ranger boats and a trip for two to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup championship and outdoor show in Hot Springs, where they could ultimately win a $53,000 Ranger Z20 powered by Yamaha.
Saturday and Sunday's weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the John Q. Hammons Center from noon to 4 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other manufacturers while children are treated to fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. The first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone Saturday will also receive a free FLW Outdoors hat. On Sunday, the first 300 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone will receive a free rod and reel combo. The drawing for a free vacation getaway to Hot Springs will be held immediately following Sunday's 4 p.m. weigh-in. Participants must be present to win.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 400 anglers competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday's competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for day three, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday's weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
The total purse for the Wal-Mart Open is $1.5 million, including $10,000 through 60th place in the Pro Division.
Coverage of the Beaver Lake event will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on July 1 and 8 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to 429 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
With a $9.5 million cash purse, including three $1 million qualifiers and three $1.5 million opens during the regular season, this is the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date. Each event leads up to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol, which will be held Aug. 2-5 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs. The prestigious championship and outdoor show hosted by the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau will feature 81 pros, 81 co-anglers and bass fishing's largest cash award – a potential $1 million first-place prize for the winning pro.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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