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Date: June 3, 2017
Region: 2017 North Region
Tournament: Lake Tawakoni
Tournament Trail: 2017 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Millender & Keaton win final team event at Bass Champs on Tawakoni
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs North Region rocked and rolled on Lake Tawakoni June 3rd for the final regular team event of 2017. Challenging weather conditions gave 177 teams a run for their money in this 106% payback tournament. The anticipation was high, as over $56,000 was up for grabs and the Angler of the Year title would be determined. Randy Millender and Katlin Keaton took no prisoners, taking home over $20,000 in winnings.

Jeff Welch, Vice President of Bass Champs, sent out an early Facebook alert to all participants before the tournament that due to the inclement weather forecast in the area all teams could trailer their boats to boat launches around the lake of their choice. Teams were allowed to make their first casts of the day at 6am, laying their rods down by 3:00 and bring their final catches in to weigh.

Randy Millender partnered with his granddaughter Katlin Keaton this season. “She fished the High School events, and graduated this year,” Millender said. “It was raining the first part of the day, but the fish were biting.” They fished with a Junebug red Mag 2 worm on a Texas rig in 8’-10’ of water on main lake points. “We put a five pounder in the boat within the first 30 minutes. The bite was slow but steady, and we were catching one here, one there.” They had their initial limit in the livewell by 9:30. After a while, Katlin needed to recede to the back of a cove for a moment. “There were some willow trees back there, and I pitched into one of them and hooked onto our biggest fish.” Kaitlin brought the net to the side of the boat just as Randy reeled it in adding another six pounder to their creel. By days end, they had caught a whopping 25.29 lbs to win the tournament by a margin. They won the guaranteed 1st place check for $20,000 and Sure Life added to their winnings for using the product in their livewell.

David Speakman fished the tournament by himself, accomplishing a 2nd place win with 21.70 lbs, including an 8.58 lb kicker. He won $3,750 for 2nd place plus another $500 for Big Bass of the day. He also took home additional winnings from Lowrance, Abu Garcia and Costa Del Mar.

3rd place was won by Branden Hollingshead and Jeremy Lambert with 21.67 lbs. “Jeremy had pre-fished for the tournament a week prior,” Branden explained. “He found this one stretch about 100 yards long that was holding some good fish.” They flipped jigs by willow trees in 4’-6’ depths, and the fish were ready to cooperate. “Our first two fish were five pounders, and we had a limit in the boat within ten minutes!” They reported catching fish all day, not ever starting up their big motor until it was time to come in. “We did cut across the cove at the end of the day and culled two more times before we came in.” Their last two fish weighed about four pounds apiece, culling two three pounders with them. Those last two pounds bumped up their final standings earning $2,760 for their day.

John Byler and Matt France took 4th place overall with their 20.55 lb sack, but cashed in big. First they won $2,100 for their finish. They doubled that being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat! On top of that, they won the Sportsman’s Auto bonus, worth over $5,000. Then Fun N Sun added to their winnings giving them a final finish worth over $10,000!

Wrapping up the top 10:
5th $1,700 20.03 lbs Andy Wilburn & Phil Elder
6th $1,300 19.89 lbs Heath Moody & Zach Parker
7th $1,100 19.03 lbs Keith Taylor & James Weir
8th $1,050+ 18.72 lbs Jason Riedel & Daniel Herring
9th $1,040 18.49 lbs Lee Livesay & Warren Sprague
10th $1,030 18.38 lbs Chris Ford & Billy Deaton
And last in the money
23rd $600 16.46 lbs Craig Dowis & Michael Vasquez

As teams brought in their final catches, not only were the tournament standings determined, but the final push for points for the Anglers of the Year race. Stan Lawing and JD Laughery were in the points lead coming into this final tournament, but when the scales came to a close it was Garrick McPherson and Dusty Spurgin who came out on top to win the final Bass Champs 2017 Angler of the Year title for the North Region. Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs explained “Now that all Anglers of the Year have been determined for this year, these four teams who have earned this title will be invited to a private lake next month to compete against each other. Each team will be provided with a Skeeter boat and identical rods, reels and tackle. The event will be filmed for a special edition of the Bass Champs TV show that will be aired on the WFN channel!” All Bass Champs shows can also be viewed on the Bass Champs website.

The championship tournament for all regions will be a two-day event, October 14th & 15th. The location will be announced soon, so stay tuned for more details and be sure and sign up for the free e-newsletter!

While all of the regular season team events are now in the books, there are still opportunities to win BIG with other Bass Champs open events:
June 9-11 – Skeeter Owner’s Tournament – Fork
June 25 – Techron TX Shootout – Sam Rayburn
Oct 21-22 – 12th Annual Berkley Big Bass - Fork

For more information, visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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