Arkansas angler Stephen Browning overcame everything Mother Nature could throw at him to win a huge payday Monday night on "The Wild Rules," a prime time adventure race on ESPN. Browning, a pro on the CITGO Basssmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, was one of just three competitors who earned the right to compete in a winner-take-all race. After a grueling 15-hour sprint, Browning walked away with a fat check.
"I'm going to use this money to help pay for my son's education, and to live my dream, which is to be in the outdoors," Browning said. "The country (in British Columbia) was absolutely beautiful and I would love to go back there prepared."
Browning began as one of 12 competitors whose specialized outdoors skills earned them a spot on one of the two teams on "The Wild Rules." After being dropped in the wilderness with limited supplies and only a bar of chocolate for sustenance, the teams raced cross-country to designated meeting points, where they competed in tests of outdoor skills, including Browning's strength, fishing.
"The funny thing about it was that, for the first couple of days, we didn't have a raft," said Browning. "I was just bank fishing and I was bummed out. I was a happy camper when we built the raft and I could get off the bank."
Browning had an edge in his professional record. After eight years as a pro angler, with one BASS win and 14 top 10 finishes to his credit, Browning has learned a thing or two about competition - particularly how to adapt to unexpected conditions.
"Being a bass fisherman served me real well, I think," he said. "They never did tell us anything about the weather or where we were going. I knew the basics of the competition but I really didn't know how to prepare."
Browning has competed in 89 BASS events, including four trips to the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, earning him over $326,000 in his career. He is a member of Team Triton and will be representing them and the BASS Central Division in the inaugural CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship Dec. 4-7 on Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, La.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. In 2004, BASS will introduce the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.