Year of the tie for local bass tourneys

As I talked to some of the anglers at the Ice For Kids Arena following the completion of the 2011 edition of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, the reaction to what had just happened at the final weigh-ins was almost universal.
“I have never seen anything like that before,” third-place finisher Mike Luhman said, echoing the feelings of nearly all of his competitors.
The dead heat between the team of Richard Rud and Jon Austin of International Falls and the Thunder Bay duo of Glenn Leroux and Trevor Zimak was certainly unprecedented in the history of the FFCBC, and the awarding of co-champions of the tournament for both teams was one that will be talked about for years to come.
However, the tie on Saturday has become a little bit of a common occurrence in local tournaments this year as the draw in the FFCBC was the third in as many tournaments.
Two weekends prior, at the 11th-annual “Castin’ for Cash” tournament on Lake Despair, Ralph and Scott Galusha were resting “comfortably” on the hot seat with a two-day total of 26.32 pounds.
However, they soon discovered they would have to share the lead with another set of anglers as Emo’s Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers arrived on the stage with an identical weight total.
In the end, the title wouldn’t be shared between the anglers as Jeff Gustafson and his girlfriend, August Collinson, blew them out of the water with a record two-day haul of 32.46 pounds. But there still was the matter of deciding who would finish in second spot.
Despite Meyers’ theory that a fist-fight should take place, the tie for second was broken via a tie-breaker rule which gives the position to the team that had the biggest catch on Day 1 of the tournament, which belonged to Meyers and Brigham.
A weekend later, at the annual Safeway “KidPro” held in conjunction with the FFCBC, another dead heat occurred as Kobi Ward (fishing with Joe Thrun) and Kale Bruyere-Huntley (paired up with Michelle and Mike Adams) both caught identical weight totals of 11.11 pounds during a hot and humid Sunday out on Rainy Lake.
Since all three fish for both Ward and Bruyere-Huntley weighed exactly the same, there was no possible way the tie could be broken and so both youngsters ended up sharing the trophy.
Which then leads us to this past Saturday evening, where everyone in the Ice For Kids Arena was wondering how in the world the organizing committee would solve the situation.
As the anglers were ushered behind the stage to discuss the situation, Fort Frances Times owner Jim Cumming, the recording secretary for the FFCBC this year, came up to me in front of the stage holding his cellphone, where he showed me the tie-breaking rules for the tournament.
The first tie-breaker was to have the tied teams go back out on the water for a one-hour fish-off. And if there still was a tie after that, the winners would be decided via a coin flip.
While a fish-off would have been exciting, and was probably the situation the fans in the arena wanted to see the most, there was no way that was going to happen given the dicey weather conditions out on Rainy Lake and the steering issues that Leroux and Zimak had with their boat.
And let’s face it, for a tournament with the stature and history of the FFCBC, a coin flip to decide the champions certainly is not the best way to go about things.
Like Rud, himself, said afterwards, “How fair is that?”
In the end, the organizing committee, led by first-year chairman Gord Watson, made the right decision in crowning co-champs for this year’s tournament. It was the only logical and sensible situation, in my opinion, given the rules of the event.
However, in a sport where there are many tall tales, I’m not so sure those who weren’t at the FFCBC on Saturday will believe such a thing transpired.
But then again, who could have imagined that we would see three ties in three separate tournaments in the span of three weekends?

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