FFCBC champs well-deserving of crown

After waiting more than a decade-and-a-half to win the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship title, the joy on the faces of Mike Luhman and Mark Raveling was easy to see.
But it wasn’t just the pair who was excited to capture the crown.
If you walked around the Ice For Kids Arena on Saturday evening following the final weigh-in, anglers, event organizers, and spectators alike were pleased to see the longtime duo hoist the trophy.
Following a forgettable 89th-place performance in their first appearance at the tournament back in 1997, Luhman and Raveling quickly became forces out on Rainy Lake, including setting the single-day catch record of 22.28 pounds in 2002.
However, despite their strong performances, it seemed as if the duo always was unable to get onto the top step of the podium, with their three second-place showings and a third-place result behind last year’s dead heat for first place as being textbook examples.
This year, though, everything finally went their way.
With Luhman catching the big fish of the tournament on Day 2, and he and Raveling starting off the tournament in first place after Day 1, it looked as if the tournament title would be theirs to lose.
And after so many years of heartache and frustration, it was outstanding to see the longtime contenders finally come out on top.
It’s often been said that after you achieve something for the first time as an athlete, it’s easier to repeat that feat over and over again.
With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Raveling and Luhman captured back-to-back championships come this time next year.
• • •
This year’s tournament also saw bright lights and camera crews on hand as the weigh-ins for all three days were televised live on Shaw Cable.
On Saturday, the final weigh-in also was being carried live on CJBN in Kenora and on Global in Thunder Bay, which made for a crazy final few minutes as Raveling and Luhman came into the Ice For Kids Arena.
With local newscasts set to air at 6 p.m., those involved in the production side of things were quick to point out to emcee Paul Morrison and Raveling that there was only three minutes left in their broadcast and that they needed to start pulling the fish out of the live-well immediately.
The only problem with that was Luhman was running around the arena like an madman handing out goodies to those in attendance, and was nowhere to be found as the producers were worried sick they would have to cut away before the final weights were announced.
Thankfully, for their sakes, Luhman arrived back at the boat shortly afterwards, allowing those who were watching at home to see the exciting conclusion to this year’s tournament
• • •
As always, there were a number of memorable moments during the 2012 edition of the FFCBC.
However, I’ll remember it best for one of the musical choices during Saturday’s weigh-in as the final 10 boats got to choose the song that played as they entered the Ice For Kids Arena
While most of the song choices were classic rock hits or country music tunes, Chad Adrians and Caleb Colwell immediately had my attention as they entered the rink to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.”
As I was not expecting a fantastic alternative rock hit from the 1990s to be played, I proceeded to jump around like a madman at a rock concert, which greatly amused those on the stage looking on, including event leaders Chad Johnson and John Janousek.
So to Adrians and Colwell, who eventually finished in 13th place overall, I salute you.