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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Great Lakes

    Mississippi River/LaCrosse (May 15, 2004)


    Marchese wins season opener on Mississippi River

    The 2004 BFL Great Lakes Division season kicked off May 15 on the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wis., and boater Joe Marchese of Silver Lake, Wis., claimed the win.

    LA CROSSE, Wis. — The 2004 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division season kicked off Saturday on the Mississippi River near La Crosse, and Joe Marchese of Silver Lake claimed the win thanks to a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 11 ounces. He bested 166 Boater Division competitors to earn $4,370 and 200 points. The win was Marchese’s first career victory.

    Rounding out the top five boaters are Richie Eaves of Nauvoo, Ill. (five bass, 15 pounds, $2,185); Jim Maloney of Hampshire, Ill. (five bass, 14 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,486); Chris Cox of Appleton (five bass, 14 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,136); and Jeff Benson of Holmen (five bass, 13 pounds, 9 ounces, $961).

    Eaves earned a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. Tim Brogan of Arpin claimed Boater Division big-bass honors and $830 thanks to a 4-pound, 9-ounce bass.

    Derek Meier of Bellevue, Iowa, earned $2,185 as the Co-angler Division winner thanks to a five-bass catch that weighed 12 pounds, 2 ounces. He edged past 166 Co-angler Division competitors to claim the win.

    Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Randy Govier of Fennimore (five bass, 11 pounds, 14 ounces, $1,092); Brad Kauffman of Onalaska (five bass, 11 pounds, 3 ounces, $743); Marvin Miller of Bettendorf, Iowa (five bass, 10 pounds, 8 ounces, $568); and Matthew Hargarten of Schaumburg, Ill. (five bass, 10 pounds, 7 ounces, $481).

    Rick Colgan of Onalaska earned $415 as the Co-angler Division big-bass winner with a 4-pound, 7-ounce bass.

    The Great Lakes Division’s next stop will be June 5 on the Mississippi River near Clinton, Iowa. Each BFL division features four one-day events followed by a two-day Super Tournament to round out the regular season. The top 30 Great Lakes Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kentucky Lake regional presented by Yamaha near Gilbertsville, Ky., Oct. 12-16, where they will compete against Choo Choo, Hoosier and Michigan 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 Great Lakes 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’s sponsor page.