With those 813 points, Thrift qualified for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup by finishing the season in 28th place. He was followed by pro John Devere of Berea, Ky., with 809 points, Slim Jim pro Michael Murphy of Gilbert, S.C., with 807 points, pro Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., with 775 points and Imodium EZ Chews pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., with 729 points. For winning Gain ROY, Thrift earned $1,000 and a year’s supply of Gain laundry detergent.
“That’s ultimately what every rookie wants,” Thrift said of his Gain ROY title. “You only get one shot at it.”
Thrift started the FLW Tour season off with a second-place effort worth $50,000 on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas.
“That first tournament was crucial. It gave me the confidence that I could compete with anybody. On this circuit, you’re fishing against the best anglers in the world. You’re fishing against Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon, guys I grew up watching on television. Now here I am fishing against them, it’s ridiculous.”
After Travis, he then finished 57th on Fort Loudoun Lake in Knoxville, Tenn., before earning his second top-10 finish on Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C. At Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark., he finished 95th. He earned a 69th-place finish on the Potomac River in Washington and wrapped up the qualifying season with a 160th-place finish on the Detroit River in Detroit. Through six events, Thrift has earned $83,500 thus far this season. In his FLW Outdoors career, he has finished in the top 10 in 12 of the 36 tournaments he has entered.
On Saturday, July 21, the young pro got married in his hometown. After a honeymoon in Charleston, S.C., Thrift will venture west to Hot Springs, Ark., for the no-entry-fee Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. There he will face 80 other qualifiers from the FLW Tour, FLW Series, Stren Series Championship, BFL All-American, TBF National Championship and Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series for the sport’s biggest award – $500,000 to $1 million. For a complete list of Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Last year’s Gain Rookie of the Year, Gabe Bolivar, finished fifth in the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race with a total of 994 points.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing.
For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.