Now that’s how tournaments should be run. I spent last weekend at the Toyota Owner’s tournament at Wheeler Lake and if all tournaments were run like this one, you’d have a two year waiting list just to enter. This is the second year that Toyota has put on one of these events with last year’s being at Lake Norman in North Carolina. Although I decided last year that it was too far to drive for a one day event, I’ll go pretty much as far as they want for next year’s.
It was obvious starting at registration that this tournament was going to be different. The first stop was the normal license check was being performed by 4 time Bassmaster Classic winner, Kevin VanDam. Between the giveaways, meal at registration and free entry, I felt like we’d won before we ever put the boat in the water.
B.A.S.S. ran the actual tournament, so we had Dave Mercer acting as emcee and a tournament crew who does this for a living. For those who’ve never had a chance to fish with B.A.S.S., it provided an opportunity to see how takeoff and weigh-ins should be done. Everything went smooth as silk and Mercer did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained.
Toyota really did a nice job, for their part. A $5000 first place, payout to 30th place and door prizes that included 3 $500 checks to teams who finished outside of the top 30, was certainly more than you’d expect for a free entry tournament. I bought my Tundra because I felt like it was the best tow vehicle on the market and 100,000 miles and 3 years usage haven’t done anything to change that opinion. The owner’s tournament; on top of the Bonus Bucks Program that Toyota already runs, make that decision even better. If you in the market for a new vehicle; at least give them a shot at your business. Any company that supports fishing as much as Toyota does, deserves that chance.
My partner and I didn’t make the money, but that really didn’t matter (although it would have been a nice bonus). This weekend was about getting out on the water and having a good time. The weather was beautiful, although very hot, and Wheeler (part of the Alabama Bass Trail) is a great place to visit. The fishing is exceptional and the hospitality can’t be beat. Thanks Toyota for a great weekend and for being a supporter of the sport we all love so much!
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.