CITGO Honors Duo With Season-Ending Awards

Omori Grabs Horizon Award; Kile is Top Newcomer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (May 27, 2003) - Texas angler Takahiro Omori and Arizona's Mark Kile were big winners over the weekend as the CITGO Bassmaster Tour wrapped up the 2003 regular season on the Alabama River. Omori took home the prestigious CITGO Horizon Award, while Kile became the 2003 CITGO Rookie of the Year.

It was a special season for CITGO Horizon Award winner Omori. The 32-year-old professional angler overcame a personal tragedy and turned it into triumph -- earning Omori a $25,000 bonus for this accomplishment.

The CITGO Horizon Award, which is given to the angler who most improves his Busch BASS Angler of the Year standing from the year before, was tailor made for this Emory, Texas, resident. Omori finished the season strong, grabbing a 12th-place finish on Montgomery's Alabama River and an eighth-place effort at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. He was also the runner up on the Toledo Bend Reservoir. Omori finished 40th in this year's point standings and improved an incredible 98 positions from his 2002 ranking.

"It's awesome," said a relieved Omori. "I made the Classic in 2001, but my dad passed away three days after. I just didn't fish very well last year. I was having such a bad time focusing on what I had to do out on the water. Winning the CITGO Horizon Award means that I have come back from last year and I have fished like I knew I could. It sure feels good to be back in the groove. And I'm going back to the same place - New Orleans. So hopefully it will come full circle. It feels good to be competitive again.

"I never really changed anything either," Omori added. "The only difference came mentally. After my dad passed, I couldn't think about anything else. Now, I'm just fishing, relaxing and doing a lot better job."

Kile had a remarkable rookie season on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour. In fact, his $10,000 CITGO Rookie of the Year check already had his name on it prior to this weekend's contest on the Alabama River. Kile, 37, offered stiff competition to the veterans this season, racking up a ninth-place finish at the San Joaquin River Delta and took the runner-up slot one week later on Clear Lake (California). The Payson, Ariz., resident also amassed three top-35 outings and finished 12th in the Busch BASS Angler of the Year point standings.

"It's a great title to have," Kile said. "I know the guys that I've been competing against are great fisherman. And winning the $10,000 is very exciting as well. I was real nervous, but the smallest fish I caught today did the trick. It was good to get the first one in the boat today - which was all I needed. This is also a real boost for all of the West Coast guys. I've fished for about 12 years, but this has been the first time that I've competed on the full Tournament Trail."

Both Omori and Kile will receive their respective trophies at the upcoming CITGO Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans.

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