First Ever Kevin VanDam Big Bass Classic
The first first ever Kevin VanDam Big Bass Classic was held this past weekend at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Nearly 300 anglers from nine different states and Canada signed up and toured the O-Lab which was set up at Bass Pro Shops’ grandfather store location in Springfield, Missouri on Friday.
On Saturday anglers faced tougher than normal conditions as warmer temps forced participants to work harder to find fish throughout the two days of the event. Despite the conditions anglers checked in a total of 218 fish at the Toyota Tundra main stage with an average weight of 3.23 lbs. Big Cedar Lodge provided the incredible backdrop at Bent Hook Marina and tournament anglers were treated to Bar-B-Q & first class hospitality courtesy of Oakley, Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Marine and Toyota Trucks.
The tournament was off to a fast start on Saturday as anglers brought 138 fish to the scales for weigh-in. Brent Compton held onto the day one lead with a 5.45 lb largemouth bass weighed in on the 10-11 hour.
Basically, the Big Bass format starts a new contest at the top of every hour. The angler that weighs–in the biggest bass for that hour won $500 cash, 2nd biggest fish for that hour won $300 cash – 3rd 4th & 5th biggest bass for that hour collected $100 each. We repeat that process for seven hours on Saturday, then another seven hours on Sunday.
Weather conditions improved on Sunday as temps cooled and the wind provided some much needed relief. The quality of the fish brought in on Sunday improved as well and we had a new leader in the 10-11 hour when Kelly Power weighed in a 6.18 lb largemouth bass. The lead didn’t last long however as the eventual tournament champion, Brady Meredith, brought in a 6.98 lb lunker in the 11-12 hour and took the lead. Brady’s big bass held up and earned him the keys to the $43,000 2010 Nitro Z9 bass boat with a 250HP Mercury Pro XS motor. After all was said and done, one in every four anglers were paid as 70 hourly checks were cut and anglers who participated were rewarded with a total cash and prize payback in excess of 190%.
This event could not have happened without the incredible contributions from Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Marine, Big Cedar Lodge, Toyota Trucks and Quantum. We would also like to thank Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Mercury, MotorGuide, Lock-n-Haul and Power Pole for all their support.
Finally, a very special thanks to KVD for making this an unforgettable event for all of those involved. KVD’s 5 hour cooking performance on the Rolling O-Lab Grill at Bass Pro Shops Springfield store on Friday afternoon was definitely the highlight of an incredible weekend. Also, Dave Mercer from Facts of Fishing who flew in from Toronto, Canada to emcee the competition’s weigh-in.