Although this is Dudley’s first Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title, his pro bass-fishing résumé is extensive. In fact, Dudley owns the FLW Outdoors career earnings record with more than $2.3 million in winnings. He was the youngest angler in history to surpass the $1 million milestone, a feat he accomplished in 2002 at 26 years old, and the $2 million milestone, a mark he pass in 2006 at the age of 30. Additionally, Dudley boasts five victories – two FLW Tour, including the Forrest Wood Cup, one Wal-Mart FLW Series, one Stren Series and the Ranger M1.
“I’ve achieved the FLW Outdoors grand slam,” said Dudley following Friday’s weigh-in. “I’ve been at this for 14 years, and I’ve won at every level in the professional ranks. Now I can add Angler of the Year to the list, and to me, that’s the most important.”
Dudley jumped from fifth place in the Angler of the Year standings to earn the title with 1,003 out of a possible 1,200 points after finishing the Chevy Open in 38th place. He just edged out National Guard pro Brent Ehler of Redlands, Calif., who finished second with 1,002 points after finishing in 16th place. Pretournament leaders, Evinrude pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., and Berkley pro Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., stumbled Friday, finishing 192 and 197, respectively.
Along with the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title, which annually goes to the sport’s most dominant bass angler,
Dudley earned $65,000, including a new Ranger boat powered by Yamaha and $25,000 cash.
Dudley started the FLW Tour season off with a 67th-place effort on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. He then finished 43rd on Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, Ala. At the Tour’s third qualifying event, the National Guard Open, on Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., Dudley took 28th place. He earned a 26th-place finish in the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark., in May and won on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes in Knoxville, Tenn., last month.
Next up for Dudley is the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17.
There he will face 76 other qualifiers from the FLW Tour, FLW Series, Stren Series Championship, BFL All-American and TBF National Championship for the sport’s biggest award, $1 million.
Coverage of Dudley’s historic Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year win on the Detroit River will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 429 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely-distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.
The Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title is determined by the total accumulated points from six regular-season events. Two hundred points are awarded for a win, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on.
Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner.
Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Land O’Lakes, Inc. (www.landolakesinc.com) is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with annual sales of more than $8 billion. Land O’Lakes is a Fortune 500 company which does business in all 50 states and more than 50 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services. Land O’Lakes also provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone, the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports: $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.