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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Choo Choo

    LAKE WHEELER (March 24, 2001)


    Rigsby wins Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League tournament on Wheeler Lake

    Pro Ryan Rigsby of Hixson, Tenn., won the March 24 Wal-Mart BFL event on Wheeler Lake. Rigsby netted $4,710 after landing a catch of 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. — Ryan Rigsby of Hixson, Tenn., outpaced 141 competitors on Wheeler Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces to win $4,710 and 200 points on the boater side of the second Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament.

    Rigsby, 24, edged out Gene Johnson of Rogersville, Ala., by 4 ounces in the one-day event that set out from Joe Wheeler State Park. Johnson finished with a five-bass catch weighing 12 pounds to win $2,355. Rigsby, who also won the Big Bass Award and $705 with a 6-pound, 6-ounce bass, caught his limit under overcast skies using a lipless crankbait in shallow water.

    Jarrod Kelley of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., took third place and collected $1,177 with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces. Terry Goggans of Fort Payne, Ala., and Dale Stinnett of Dayton, Tenn., tied for fourth with five bass each weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Both men received $981.

    First place in the Co-Angler Division and $2,355 went to Thomas Helton of Charleston, Tenn., who topped 141 competitors with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Second place in the division and $1,177 went to Tyler Hudson of Cullman, Ala., with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces, while Wayne Christopher of Huntsville, Ala., took third place and $589 with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 7 ounces.

    John Martin of Pleasant Grove, Ala., won the co-angler Big Bass Award of $352 with a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass that he caught on a ¼-ounce chrome and blue lipless crankbait.

    Boater James Chapman of Cedartown, Ga., won $500 as the highest finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He finished in sixth place with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces.

    Overall, 756 bass weighing 1,181 pounds, 2 ounces were caught during the tournament, including 78 five-bass limits.

    The BFL will visit Douglas Lake April 28 for the third of five events in the Choo Choo Division. The boater with the most points after the division's season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 15-16 on Neely Henry Lake, will be declared the Divisional Points Champion and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.

    The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Choo Choo Division will advance to regional competition Oct. 9-13 on Weiss Lake near Cedar Bluff, Ala., where they will go up against top competitors from the Carolina, Ozark, and Illini divisions for a shot at qualifying for the $250,000 All-American.

    Awards for the 2001 BFL season could reach $5.7 million based on full fields at each tournament.