ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. — Trip Weldon of Wetumpka, Ala., survived four days of intense competition on Lake Martin to win $10,000 and an Evinrude-powered Ranger bass boat Saturday in the second EverStart Batteries Series tournament of 2000.
Weldon, a 25-year bass tournament veteran, caught five bass weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces of bass during the tournament's final round to claim victory over nine other finalists in the pro division. He caught his keepers out of brush and around docks in five to 10 feet of water on a worm, crankbait and tube jig.
Taking second through fifth in the pro division were Jason Quinn of Lake Wylie, S.C., with five bass weighing 12-4 worth $10,000; Rodger Beaver of Leesburg, Ga., with five bass weighing 9-4 worth $9,000; Rufus Johnson of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., with five bass weighing 8-1 worth $8,000; and Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Ala., with four bass weighing 7-13 worth $7,000.
Jack Sharp of Alexander City, Ala., claimed first place in the Co-Angler Division and collected $6,000 for two bass weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Finishing second through fifth in the co-angler division were Eddie Voss of Jacksons Gap, Ala., with four bass weighing 7-0 worth $3,500; David Pollard of Carrollton, Ga., with three bass weighing 4-15 worth $3,000; Steven Reaves of Jacksonville, Ala., with two bass weighing 4-4 worth $2,500; and Jeff Taylor of Vernon, Ala., with three bass weighing 3-8 worth $2,000.
The tournament began Wednesday morning with 175 professional anglers and 175 co-anglers taking off from Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City to claim a piece of the event's $164,000 purse. After two elimination rounds, however, only 10 anglers remained in each division for Saturday's finale.
Now in its third year, the EverStart Series is comprised of two divisions, Eastern and Central, with four multi-day events per division. The top 75 pros and top 75 co-anglers from each division will advance to the year-end EverStart Invitational Challenge at Cypress Gardens, Fla., which features a purse of $360,000.
Over the course of the season, the EverStart Series awards anglers up to $1.7 million in cash and prizes. It also provides a pathway to the prestigious Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the richest tournament series in history. Winning anglers in the Pro and Co-Angler divisions of each EverStart tournament, as well as the overall top 10 anglers, based on a system of points and pounds, receive automatic berths in the 2001 FLW Tour.