Lands spot on Kellogg's box
FLORENCE, Ala. – Texan Clark Wendlandt, 34, will join America's elite sport's heroes as a cereal box icon after winning the 2000 Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title Thursday on Pickwick Lake during the Wal-Mart FLW Tour's $1 million Forrest Wood Open presented by Kellogg's.
In addition to gracing the cover of Kellogg's brand Corn Flakes and Frosted Mini-Wheats boxes, Wendlandt will receive $25,000 and a Johnson- or Evinrude-powered Ranger 518 VX bass boat. Should he win the Forrest Wood Open, which runs through Saturday, Wendlandt will receive an additional $200,000.
Wendlandt, who was also named Angler of the Year in 1997, is the second angler ever to be featured on a Kellogg's box. 1999 Angler of the Year, David Walker of Cannon, Ky., was the first.
Wendlandt is widely recognized as the best, most consistent bass angler in the world - something that the mild-mannered pro from Cedar Park, Texas, says hasn't really hit him yet.
"I'm really kind of beside myself," he said after checking in four bass that weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces to secure his points lead over runner-up Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C. "I worked for this all year long. To me, being the most consistent angler throughout the year is the hardest award to win in professional fishing. It's something I'm very proud of."
Wendlandt won the title with 355 points after the second day of competition in the final regular season tournament on the seven-venue, $4.4 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour schedule. Adams, a champion in his own right, finished the season with 320 points followed by Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., with 306 points and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., with 286 points.
En route to winning Angler of the Year, Wendlandt made four top-10 FLW Tour appearances in 2000, including a $100,000 victory in Lexington, S.C. In South Carolina, he also caught the season's heaviest round-one (two-day) stringer of 10 bass weighing 41 pounds, 12 ounces. His worst finish of the season, 58th place, came at the FLW Tour stop in Memphis last month. Wendlandt's performance in Memphis, however, did not shake his confidence too badly coming into the Forrest Wood Open.
"I had some nervous moments," he said, commenting on the Memphis tourney. "I should have put it away there, but I didn't."
Wendlandt has made more top-10 appearances during his FLW Tour career than any other angler and ranks second only to Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., in FLW Tour career earnings. In his four years on the tour, he has collected 12 top-10 finishes and won more than $385,000. Clunn has earned more than $477,000 and has had 10 top-10 finishes.
Wendlandt started his fishing career on the Red Man Tournament Trail in 1987 after attending Texas A&M University. He went on to win the Red Man All-American Bass Championship in 1992, and in 1997 he joined the FLW Tour - the world's most lucrative bass fishing series. That same year, he won the tour's Angler of the Year title.
Last year, Wendlandt finished eighth in the Angler of the Year standings with 244 points. In 1998, he ranked 36th with 164 points.
The 2000 Co-Angler of the Year title and a Ranger R91 boat powered by an Evinrude or Johnson outboard went to David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., who earned 328 points. Hudson also will receive priority entry into the Pro Division of the 2001 Wal-Mart FLW Tour.
Friday's takeoff from McFarland Park will be at 8 a.m. Weigh-ins Friday and Saturday will be held at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence at 5 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively.
Coverage of the tournament on ESPN is scheduled to air July 8 at noon EST. The tournament's final weigh-in will be broadcast live to the electronics department of more than 2,400 Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The final weigh-in also will air live on ESPN Extra.