Local anglers make up almost half of bass draw

It was a celebratory evening for many local anglers who were awarded spots in the 2004 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship during last night’s random draw at La Place Rendez-Vous Hotel.
Pam Buttner of Fort Frances was the luckiest of all the record 160 draw entrants as she was selected first overall for the 40 coveted spaces available in next year’s tournament, which will have a minimum $50,000 at stake for the winners.
Had Buttner not been the recipient of her good fortune, it still would have ended up being a good night at her household as her husband, Larry, was handed the 28th spot in the draw.
Six of the top 10, and 18 of the first 40 names drawn, were from this area although the next three spots after Buttner were granted to out-of-towners.
Rob Gervais of Kapuskasing, Ont. was chosen second while Michael Causyn from Kenora was picked third. Richard Rigsby of Rock Island, Tenn.. was the first American participant scooped out of the draw barrel as the fourth overall selection.
Don Wood from Fort Frances snared the fifth spot while Greg Thorstad of Ray, Mn. was sixth.
Jeff Steinke (Fort Frances) started a run of five-straight local selections at No. 7, followed by Emo’s Eric Veldhuisen.
Zack McBride ensured the family tandem of himself and dad, Doug, who had finished second two years ago, would get another crack at the FFCBC when his name was drawn ninth.
Don Jones (Fort Frances) rounded out the top 10.
James L. Barnick, from Pembroke Pines, Fla., secured the honour of being the entrant from the farthest distance away to make the top 40, coming in at #37.
The 136-team field for the 2004 FFCBC is scheduled to be comprised of the top 90 finishers in this year’s tournament, last night’s top 40 selections, and the winners of six major tourneys in Northwestern Ontario.
A waiting list for next year’s FFCBC also was established last night, starting with the 41st selection.
If any of the top 90 from this year’s tournament, or last night’s top 40 picks, declines their spot, the corresponding number of teams beginning at the top of the waiting list then will be entered at the bottom of the field.