July 7, 2011- Eight bass fishing pros from six states–Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee–have qualified to compete for $100,000 in a unique bracket-style head-to-head fishing tournament as part of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, July 23-31, in Alabama.

Qualifiers, by state, include:

  • Alabama–Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala.; Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala.,
  • Florida–Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla.
  • Michigan–Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Oklahoma–Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.
  • South Carolina–Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C.; Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C.
  • Tennessee–Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn.

All eight are Bassmaster Elite Series pros who qualified through points accumulated in the 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, which concluded June 19 with a dramatic finale at Wheeler Lake near Decatur, Ala.

Four additional anglers will enter the competition via fan voting at www.bassmaster.com. Voting continues through July 10 and results will be announced live at www.bassmaster.com at 2 p.m. (ET) on July 13.

Together, these 12 anglers will showcase professional fishing in a competitive format like no other in the sport. Toyota Trucks All-Star Week is like a fusion of NCAA March Madness and Major League Baseball’s All Star Game, but with an added twist. From all the fans who vote online for their hometown heroes or sentimental favorites, 12 will be randomly selected and paired to “virtually compete” alongside the 12 pros.

“The 12 anglers who fish during the All-Star Week will be the best of the best,” said Jerry McKinnis, an owner of B.A.S.S. “The Elite Series is the highest level of professional, competitive bass fishing. These guys are becoming real stars, which is something our sport needs. I’m eager to see who will win this thing.”

Actual competition begins July 23-24 in the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final at Lake Jordan, Wetumpka, Ala. The bottom 4 anglers will be eliminated. Eight advancing finalists will be seeded in a bracket-style head-to-head tournament. The Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship is July 29-31 on the Alabama River, Montgomery, Ala. Winner takes all: $100,000.

When the actual champion is crowned, one lucky fan will win a “virtual championship” and a fully rigged Triton 18XS boat with a Mercury 150 OptiMax engine.

All 12 fan-finalists will win a prize pack from Berkley and Havoc (retail value, $79.00).

Fans can keep up with the competition on www.bassmaster.com.

Following are brief bios on the eight initial qualifiers for Toyota Trucks All-Star Week:

Alabama
Stephen Kennedy, Auburn, Ala.–Finished 5th in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning Elite Series tournament May 5-8 on West Point Lake, LaGrange, Ga. More than $1 million in career earnings, two tournament wins and 20 finishes in the Top 10.

Gerald Swindle, Warrior, Ala.–Finished 3rd in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open Jan. 20-22 on Lake Tohopekaliga, Kissimmee, Fla. More than $1.3 million in career earnings, two tournament wins and 35 finishes in the Top 10.

Florida
Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla.–Finished 6th in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic via points accumulated in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. More than $1.4 million in career earnings, five tournament wins and 35 finishes in the Top 10.

Michigan
Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.–Finished 1st in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, his seventh overall and fourth consecutive title. Reigning champion and four-time winner of the prestigious Bassmaster Classic. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. VanDam is the first pro to land Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic titles in the same season for two seasons running. More than $5.2 million in career earnings, 20 tournament wins and 95 finishes in the Top 10. Considered one of the greatest competition anglers of all time.

Oklahoma
Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.–Finished 2nd in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning Elite Series tournament March 17-20 on St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla. More than $1.7 million in career earnings, six tournament wins and 45 finishes in the Top 10.

South Carolina
Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C.–Finished 7th in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning Elite Series tournament May 12-15 on Lake Murray, Columbia, S.C. More than $630,000 in career earnings, two tournament wins and 11 finishes in the Top 10.

Davy Hite, Ninety Six, S.C.–Finished 8th in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic by winning Elite Series tournament April 6-9 on Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala. More than $1.7 million in career earnings, eight tournament wins and 41 finishes in the Top 10.

Tennessee
Ott DeFoe, Knoxville, Tenn.–Finished 4th in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Named 2011 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year by leading all rookies in Angler of the Year point totals. Qualified for 2012 Bassmaster Classic via points accumulated in race for 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. More than $150,000 in career earnings with five finishes in the Top 10.

2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha

2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Luck “E” Strike, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ramada

About B.A.S.S.
For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while championing efforts to connect directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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