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Walmart Bass Fishing League - Cowboy
Toledo Bend (Feb. 14, 2004)
Thornhill wins season opener on Toledo Bend
HEMPHILL, Texas — The 2004 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division season kicked off Saturday on Toledo Bend Reservoir near Hemphill, and Richard Thornhill of Pineville, La., claimed the win thanks to a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces. He bested 171 Boater Division competitors to earn $4,456 and 200 points.
Thornhill caught his tournament-winning bass flipping a 1/2-ounce jig in Negreet Creek. He claimed the win in only his third career BFL event.
Rounding out the top five pros are Larry Byrd of Lake Charles, La. (three bass, 16 pounds, 8 ounces, $2,228); Glen Freeman of Converse, La. (five bass, 16 pounds, 5 ounces, $1,515); Brandon Baker of Beaumont (five bass, 15 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,159); and Thomas Rogers of Fort Worth (five bass, 13 pounds, 15 ounces, $980).
Trey Morgan of Goldonna, La., earned $500 as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. He finished sixth with a four-bass catch weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces.
Gary Fields of Donaldsonville, La., earned $2,185 as the Co-angler Division winner thanks to a five-bass catch that weighed 12 pounds, 13 ounces. He edged past 166 Co-angler Division competitors thanks to his technique that involved Carolina rigging in 4 to 8 feet of water.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are John Peebles of Seabrook (five bass, 11 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,092); Richard Hooter of Natchitoches, La. (three bass, 9 pounds, 13 ounces, $743); Bill Clem of Plano (four bass, 9 pounds, 8 ounces, $568); and Kelly Watterson of Pollok (four bass, 9 pounds, 5 ounces, $481).
Byrd claimed Boater Division big-bass honors and $855 thanks to a 9-pound bass that he caught on a crankbait around deep ledges. Thornhill’s wife Dana made it a family affair and earned $415 as the Co-angler Division big-bass winner with a 6-pound, 10-ounce bass. Dana finished 12th in the Co-angler Division.
The Cowboy Division’s next stop will be March 13 on Toledo Bend in Hemphill. Each BFL division features four one-day events followed by a two-day Super Tournament to round out the regular season. The top 30 Cowboy Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Columbus Pool regional near Columbus, Miss., Oct. 19-23, where they will compete against Illini, Music City and Seminole division anglers for a slot in the 2005 All-American. The winning boater at the All-American receives $100,000 cash, making it one of the most lucrative and prestigious championship events in bass fishing.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on except for Super Tournaments, which award 300 points to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The Cowboy Division boater who amasses the most points at the end of the regular season will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, and the co-angler earning the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division.
The $6.3 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 24 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired, with boaters supplying the boat and fishing against other boaters and co-anglers fishing from the back deck against other co-anglers. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse this Web site.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com’s sponsor page.