Kids Cast for Scholarship, National Title

Nine-year-old Kiana Clark of Washington and 14-year-old Corey Harrington of North Carolina were officially named the national champions of BASS’ CastingKids competition today at the 35th annual Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh.   

During the pre-show of the Day 2 weigh-in, Clark – in the 7-to-10 age group – bested finalist Bryce Bason of Pennsylvania by just 10 points. Harrington, in the 11-to-14 age group, tied with Oregon’s Nathan Bromley but won by earning 30 points in a castoff.   

“I was feeling confident about the competition,” Harrington said. “I knew that I had it in me.”   

CastingKids teaches children how to flip, pitch and cast. About 125,000 kids participated in nearly 70 local CastingKids events this year, and Clark and Harrington advanced through the state and national semifinal levels.   

Each won a $5,000 scholarship. Children who placed in second, third, fourth and fifth places also won scholarships.   

“They’re going to be tremendous champions,” said Stacy Twiggs, manager of BASS youth programs. “They epitomize what champions should be.”   

7-10 Age Group Final Standings   

1. Kiana Clark, Washington
2. Bryce Bason, Pennsylvania
3. Shauni Voisin, Ontario, Canada
4. J. Beth Miles, Alabama
5. Devin Dixon, Oklahoma   

11-14 Age Group Final Standings   

1. Corey Harrington, North Carolina
2. Nathan Bromley, Oregon
3. Dave Saterbak, Minnesota
4. Danny Roselle, Maryland
5. Hunter King, Nebraska   

Junior Bassmaster Champions Honored   

Scott Gettings, 17, of West Warwick, R.I., and 14-year-old Joey Nania of Liberty Lake, Wash., received an official champions’ reception today at the Day 2 pre-show weigh-in.   

The boys, who won their respective age groups in the Junior Bassmaster World Championship earlier this week, took to the stage at Mellon Arena to be recognized for their wins. Each received a $5,000 scholarship, a Triton boat with a Mercury motor valued at $8,000 and a family trip to Walt Disney World in central Florida.   

Like Ike   

Michael Iaconelli took the top of the leader board early in the weigh-in with his 3- pound, 12-ounce catch. But some fans were more interested in the showy angler’s belt buckle, a square, boxlike affair outlined with rhinestones that digitally scrolled the phrase “Never Give Up.”   

“I lost a giant today,” Iaconelli said as he reviewed tape of his performance that played out on overhead screens during the weigh-in. “But that just goes to show you, you can never give up.”   

Iaconelli ended the day in second place with a total weight of 8 pounds, 3 ounces.  

Food, Fun and Spirits with Triton, Mercury  

More than 100 media members, anglers and BASS staffers took to the Steelhead Lounge at the Marriott City Center Friday evening for a party hosted by Triton Boats and Mercury Marine.  

The companies are premier sponsors of the 35th annual CITGO Bassmaster Classic and provide anglers with their boats and engines during the tournament. Triton and Mercury also announced this week they will sponsor the Women’s Bassmaster Tour and present the boater and non-boater winner of each event with a new boat and engine.  

 “We’re very appreciative of the media and support from all of the BASS staff,” said Michelle Kilburn, manager of tournaments and events for Mercury. “The event was a great success. This was a great opportunity for us to thank everyone involved in helping to grow the sport.”  

Going Live With Basscenter  

“BassCenter” went live from Point State Park in Pittsburgh at 7 a.m. Saturday. Crowds swelled around the stage after the morning launch, providing a vibrant backdrop for host John Kernan and analyst Byron Velvick.  

Carey Huber of Houtzdale, Pa., and friend Katie Brashear of Liverpool, Pa., were among the fans that flocked around the stage. ”We’re having a great time," Huber said. “It’s fun watching (Byron and Kernan), and I think it gets people more interested in the sport.”  

“BassCenter” will broadcast live again on Sunday from 7 to 8 a.m. and 12:30 to 1 p.m. EST on ESPN2.  

Thousands Line Banks for Day 2 Launch  

Two kayakers and a few dozen spectator boats joined a crowd of onlookers who lined the banks of the Three Rivers at Point State Park Saturday morning.  

The group gathered to watch 47 of the world’s top anglers begin Day 2 of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.  

Jim Bushey, 62, and son Craig Bushey, 31, from Greensburg, Pa. left home at 4:30 a.m. to get good seats for the 7 a.m. launch. They also got to see “Basscenter” broadcasting live from the park from 7 to 8 a.m.  

“It’s very cool to see the guys you see on TV all year long,” Craig Bushey said.  

Wedding Bells Will Ring  

In a bold move, CITGO Bassmaster Tour rookie Andre Moore proposed to girlfriend Kim Bain in front of nearly 11,000 people during his Day 2 weigh-in at the Mellon Arena.  

“I wanted to tell Kim how much I love her … and I don’t think I can go on without her,” Moore said, as the crowd slowly started to grasp what was happening as he bent down on one knee. “So, will you marry me?”  

Bain, also an angler and an on-the-water TV reporter at the Classic, accepted. Moore, meanwhile, finished 15th for the day and will take to the waters as one of the top 25 anglers remaining in the Classic.   

A Race to Get Back in Time   

Fifth-place angler Scott Rook almost didn’t make it to his designated check-in on time today, he said. The Arkansas pro shut off his engine within an hour after launch and remained in his spot all day, catching a limit. But when Rook was ready to head back, his boat battery malfunctioned.   

“I put the fish in a camera boat and high-tailed back to get the fish in,” he said.   

Rook’s bag weighed in today at 5 pounds. His total for both days is 7-15.  

  BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail 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. Coming in 2006 are an expanded Tour schedule to 11 events, three Majors tournaments and the Women’s Bassmaster Tour.  

The 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will receive unprecedented coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 this year. A total of 12 hours of programming will be devoted to Classic tournament coverage July 29-31.