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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Empire

    Lake Champlain (June 17, 2006)


    Lavictoire wins BFL tournament on Lake Champlain

    Boater Thomas Lavictoire of West Rutland, Vt., earned $4,806 June 17 as winner of the BFL Empire Division event on Lake Champlain.

    PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Boater Thomas Lavictoire of West Rutland, Vt., earned $4,806 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Empire Division event on the Lake Champlain. The tournament was the second of five regular-season Empire Division events and earned Lavictoire 200 points in the Boater Division.

    Lavictoire’s winning catch of five bass weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces. He was throwing a tube, targeting bedding bass.

    Rounding out the top five boaters are Brian Gates of Mendon, Vt. (five bass, 17 pounds, 2 ounces, $2,403); Kraig Kettelkamp of Clifton Springs, N.Y. (five bass, 17 pounds, $1,605); Dick Keyser of Pine City, N.Y., (five bass, 16 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,121) and Louis Bonanno of Norwich, N.Y. (five bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces, $961).

    Gates also took Boater Division big-bass award honors, earning $725 for a 5-pound, 1-ounce bass.

    Andy Warholic of Cortland, N.Y., won the Co-angler Division to earn $2,403 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 16 pounds he caught flipping a tube in and around submerged wood.

    Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Jeffery Childress Sr. of Toms River, N.J. (five bass, 15 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,201); Rick Turner of Tyler, Texas (five bass, 14 pounds, 3 ounces, $806); Dustin Edwards of Manchester, Conn. (five bass, 14 pounds, $561); and Raymond Nieuweboer of Hollis, N.H. (five bass, 13 pounds, 13 ounces, $481).

    Paul Ruterman of Syracuse, N.Y. earned $362 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 4-pound, 6-ounce bass.

    The Empire Division’s next event will be held July 15 on Lake Cayuga near Waterloo, N.Y., followed by an event on Seneca Lake near Geneva, N.Y., July 29. The division’s fourth regular-season event will be held on 1000 Islands Aug. 26. The Empire Division will wrap up its regular season Sept. 23-24 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, N.Y.

    Following the regular season, the Empire Division boater with the most points who advances farthest in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American will earn $10,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler points champion who advances farthest will earn $5,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion in the Co-angler Division.

    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. The top 40 Empire Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Smith Mountain Regional near Moneta, Va., Oct. 19-21, where they will compete against North Carolina, Northeast, and Piedmont anglers for one of six slots in the 2007 All-American. With a total purse of $1 million and a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.

    The $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 28 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 visit

    Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners’ Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.

    Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit