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Pockets $1 million in first-place prize money

(August 17, 2008) COLUMBIA, SC – For only the second time ever, a professional bass angler has won $1 million first-place prize money for winning a single event, joining the exclusive ranks of the fishing's instant millionaires club. Inside the Colonial Center, Ranger Pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., brought four fish to the scales weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces on the final day of the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, the FLW Tour's championship event, giving him a combined weight of 24 pounds, 15 ounces.

With the win, 24-year-old Bennett's three-year-long professional bass fishing career has netted him a total of $1,404,475, including the $500,000 first-place prize money from FLW and the matching $500,000 bonus from Ranger Boats.

"I was so nervous I couldn't hardly speak," Bennett said from the weigh-in stand. "I've never fished for so much money before, it's almost hard to comprehend. This is where you dream of standing when you are a kid, here among the best in the world, holding an enormous check. I can't believe it had really happened."

Bennett, fishing South Carolina's Lake Murray, targeted his bass using a Berkley Power Bait 6-inch Hand Pour Finesse Worm. His final weight bested fellow Ranger Pro and second-place finisher Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., who finished with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In all, eight of the final 10 anglers competing in this year's Forrest Wood Cup came from the Ranger Boats Pro Staff, including the Top 7 finishers.

The four-day-long Forrest Wood Cup includes two days with all 77 participants fishing with only the Top 10 anglers fishing the final two days. The final round begins with all weights zeroed, meaning that the winner of the tournament must catch the most total weight over the final two days. Bennett made the Top-10 cut with 27 pounds, 4 ounces – the most of any angler in the Top 10 – and led after Day 3 with five fish that weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce.

The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., was the first year a professional angler – fellow Ranger Pro Scott Suggs – won $1 million for winning a single event.

About Ranger Boats

Ranger Boats, headquartered in Flippin, Ark., is the nation's largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats, including a series of bass, multi-species, fish 'n play and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest quality, strongest performing boats on the water.

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