The Minnesota Pro/Am Bass Tour Tournament of Champions Is Set To Visit Cragun’s
Press Room

On September 21st and 22nd the region’s best bass anglers will fish Gull Lake in Brainerd

St. Paul, Minn., August 27, 2002 – The Minnesota Pro-Am Bass Tour, Minnesota’s premier Bass Tournament Series, will crown its 2002 champion at Cragun’s Conference and Golf Resort on September 21-22.

The Tour’s Tournament of Champions will take place over two days, with 40 pro and 40 amateur anglers vying for the coveted title. The pro and amateur coming in first place will receive a Ranger boat, Yamaha motor and a trailer. The pro and co-anglers finishing in the top 15 places will receive part of the largest cash purse of the summer. The Tour of Champions festivities will take place at Cragun’s Conference and Golf Resort on Gull Lake and will include the Minnesota State Lottery’s Environmental Experience, the Outdoor Education Tour, kids fishing clinics and the final weigh-in.

There were five qualifying tournaments leading to the Tournament of Champions. Anglers spent the summer not only competing for cash purses at each event worth nearly $40,000 but also fished to accumulate enough points to qualify for the season-ending championship event.

The tour opened in June 8th on the Mississippi River in Red Wing where Earl C. Sharpe III of Minneapolis and his amateur partner, Brian Ager of Fridley took top honors. The second event took place June 22nd on Pokegama Lake where Rick Jansen of Hibbing and his amateur partner Kevin Stephens of Burnsville took first place. The third event took place on July 13th on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes in Alexandria where Brian Blaeser of Freeport and his co-angler Rick Hill of Hudson, WI took top honors. The Tour’s final two events took place on August 3rd and August 17th on Lake Vermilion and the Mississippi River at Winona. Duane Anderson of Coon Rapids and John Kimmes of Hastings finished in the top spot at Vermilion and Brian Brecka of Alma, WI and co-angler Chuck Fields of Brainerd weighed the largest basket in Winona.

On September 21st and 22nd the top 40 qualifying pros and co-anglers will depart from Cragun’s at 6 a.m., or as soon as conditions permit. This impressive sight consists of 40 bass boats congregated in one area awaiting their turn to blast off for a full day of fishing.

Joining the region’s top anglers of today will be eager-to-learn future anglers of tomorrow. Instructors will be on hand at the event site to conduct the Outdoor Education Tour. At 11:30 a.m. a professional angler will be conducting a youth fishing clinic with a fishing simulator contest beginning at 12:30 p.m. There will be prizes awarded to participants at each event.

The Minnesota Pro/Am Bass Tour encourages fishing fans and spectators to make a day of it. Shortly after the children’s activities wrap up at 1:30 p.m. the Tour’s weigh-in show will begin. Professional anglers and their co-anglers will appear on stage with the event emcees in front of spectators and video cameras to have their catch weighed. Each stop of the Minnesota Pro/Am Bass Tour is produced into a 30-minute television program that will air on television stations across Minnesota and the five-state region. September 29th the show will debut on FOX SPORTS NET. For a full listing of the Tour’s television airings check out the Bass Tour web site at

The Minnesota Pro-Am Bass tour is the top professional bass fishing event in the state of Minnesota. The pay-out is among the highest of any Minnesota based competitive bass fishing venue and the opportunities for the average angler to learn from the experience of the pros that participate in the Tour is immense. Additionally, the Minnesota Pro/Am Bass Tour incorporates an innovative live release system that assures the safety of every fish weighed. The bass brought to the weigh-in stage are kept in good health by spending very little time out of freshly circulated, oxygen-rich water. After being weighed the bass will be distributed back to multiple locations throughout the lake. This dispersion of fish helps provide future recreational anglers the thrill of catching them for themselves.