North American Fishing Guides

Berhorst wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Regional on Beaver Lake

ROGERS, Ark. (Oct. 27, 2003) – Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Mo., bested 114 Boater Division competitors this weekend at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Regional on Beaver Lake to win a new Chevy truck and an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519VS Comanche bass boat. The postseason victory also earned him a slot in the 2004 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American, where he will compete for a top boater award of $100,000 cash.

Berhorst advanced to the regional by finishing the regular season ranked 27th in BFL Ozark Division points standings. The top 30 boaters and co-anglers in the Ozark Division competed against the top 30 Great Lakes, LBL and Okie division anglers for one of six slots in next year’s All-American. They will join the top six from five other regionals plus the Chevy Trucks Wild Card for an All-American field of 42 boaters and 42 co-anglers. The All-American, scheduled for April 14-17 on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Ark., remains one of the most prestigious championship events in all of bass fishing.

Berhorst caught five bass Thursday weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces to finish seventh, and he followed that up Friday with 5 pounds, 12 ounces to sit in the No. 6 position after day two’s competition with a two-day total of 13 pounds, 14 ounces. The top six finishers after day two competed a third day for position and prize money based on their total three-day weight, and Berhorst led the field with a three-day total of 23 pounds, 12 ounces. All six automatically earned a berth to the All-American.

Rounding out the top six boaters are Mike Cooper of Branson, Mo. (22 pounds, 12 ounces, $5,000); Robert Dodson of Harrison (18 pounds, 9 ounces, $2,500); Wes Endicott of Joplin, Mo. (18 pounds, 6 ounces, $2,000); William Frisk of West Salem, Wis. (15 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,500); and Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Mo. (14 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,000). Ties are resolved by day-two standings.

Berhorst also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.

Gene Purdy of Bentonville won an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat as the Co-angler Division winner thanks to his three-day total of 15 pounds, 9 ounces. Purdy caught five bass weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces on day one to finish first, and he finished fourth after day two thanks to a 1-pound, 13-ounce catch that set his two-day total at 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Purdy will compete for a top co-angler award of $50,000 at the 2004 All-American.

Rounding out the top six co-anglers are Bill Nowicki of Osage Beach, Mo. (12 pounds, 11 ounces, $2,500); Art Smith of Hector, Minn. (11 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,250); Richard Sneath of Pecatonica, Ill. (11 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,000); Norman Jackson of Princeton, Ky. (10 pounds, 12 ounces, $750); and Jeff McCarnan of Henderson, Ky. (8 pounds, 5 ounces, $500). Ties are resolved by day-two standings.

Nationwide, the BFL is divided into 24 divisions — each featuring four one-day qualifying tournaments and a two-day Super Tournament. Under the BFL’s boater and co-angler format, boaters supply the boats, fish from the front deck and control boat movement throughout the competition. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and are competing against other co-anglers. Two hundred points are awarded to tournament winners, 199 points are presented for second, and so on except for the Super Tournament, where the winners earn 300 points, 299 points are given for second place, and so on. These points determine angler standings.

As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the EverStart Series and ultimately the Wal-Mart FLW Tour — bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament series. Each year the top 30 boaters and co-anglers from each BFL division are eligible to advance to the EverStart Series, and the All-American champions are eligible for Wal-Mart FLW Tour competition. The top 15 pros and co-anglers from the Central, Eastern and Northern divisions of the EverStart Series (top 10 from the Western Division) are eligible to advance to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. Former BFL anglers who have become fishing superstars on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour include Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt, Chevy pro Tommy Biffle and four-time FLW Tour champion David Fritts.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit

FLW Outdoors and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour are named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. For more information about FLW Outdoors or any of its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000.

FLW Outdoors

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