Media Contact: Josh Ward
Blue Heron Communications
FROM THE BACK OF THE BOAT: WELLS MAKES WAY THROUGH TBF, ALL-AMERICAN TO QUALIFY FORREST WOOD CUP
FLIPPIN, AR (June 11, 2007) In a bass tournament situation, catching fish from the back of the boat can be a hit-and-miss proposition. Relinquishing control of the boat to someone else, co-anglers seldom get first crack at the best water and are left to scratch out limits. But sometimes fishing the back seat can take an angler on quite a ride.
Kevin Wells of South Shore, Ky., recently experienced that excitement by winning the co-angler title of the BFL All-American on the Ohio River, pocketing $70,000 in first-place prize money, which included contingency bonuses from Ranger Boats. Now qualified to fish the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup, Wells will be competing in bass fishing's most lucrative tournament this August, a possible life-changing event that began in the local grass root tournaments of the TBF.
The excitement and emotions wrapped up in making it all the way from local club tournaments to the richest event in professional bass fishing history were apparent at the All-American. As Wells hoisted the trophy on stage, he located his wife and daughters in the crowd, their happy tears of excitement serving as punctuation to his qualification process.
"That's a lot of money for a country boy like me to be fishing for in the Forrest Wood Cup. But just to be competing for it and to be there along side your heroes is something in itself," Wells said. "I wake up thinking about fishing, I just love to be around it. And now I get to go out and compete for a payday like that? If I were lucky enough to win, who knows what could happen?"
Wells, a full-time laborer, finished fifth in April's TBF National Championship as a co-angler, and as the highest-finishing Northern Division contender, qualified for the All-American. Though he had less than six weeks to prepare for the tournament, Wells has plenty of experience on the Ohio River, an area not far from his hometown.
"I live – as the crow flies – about three-quarters of a mile from the Ohio River; Louisville is about 200 miles down river and I never really fish those pools," Wells said. "But I've spent a lot of time on the Ohio River and I kind of know what to look for and how to fish the river and what to use."
His experience paid off with a combined weight of 10 pounds, 5 ounces over the first two days of competition. Though he did not weigh a fish on the final day of competition, the lead he built on the first two days held up, completing his journey from the TBF to the Forrest Wood Cup.
"The TBF has been so good to me and to so many other people because it gives regular guys like me a chance. Without it I'd never make it to the Forrest Wood Cup," Wells said. "Through the TBF we get to fish events closer to home and have a good time being around other anglers and just competing against the fish. It just continues to open up unbelievable doors for us. And it's a great system just a year into it."
Wells, along with other boater and co-angler qualifiers from the TBF and the All-American, will go head-to-head with the world's top bass anglers in the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup. The $2 million tournament will be August 2-5 on Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs, Ark.
"I'm going down to win it," Wells said. "It would be a great feeling to hoist that trophy again."
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.
Genmar, with approximately 4,500 employees and eight manufacturing centers, is the builder of 14 premier brands of recreational boats which include Carver®, Champion®, Four Winns®, Glastron®, Hydra-Sports®, Larson®, MarquisTM, Ranger®, Scarab®, Seaswirl®, Stratos®, Triumph® and Wellcraft®. Genmar boats are sold worldwide through its approximately 1,100 dealers. Additionally, Genmar utilizes its proprietary VEC® Technology and the Roplene® process in both the manufacture of certain of its recreational boats and for third party manufacturing.