BENTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2003) – FLW Outdoors announced Saturday that the first-ever EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award will go to EverStart Series Western Division co-angler Jim Wickham of Morristown, Ariz. Wickham earned points during the regular season by wearing an EverStart/Evinrude shirt and an EverStart/Evinrude baseball cap on stage during final-round appearances.

As winner of the award, Wickham claims a 2003 Evinrude 225HO direct injection outboard engine rigged on a Ranger 520 DVX boat that is also equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and EverStart batteries. The award was presented to Wickham during the final weigh-in festivities at the EverStart Series Championship on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn.

“It’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me as far as ever winning anything,” Wickham said. “I’m kind of speechless because it really hasn’t even sunk in yet. I had zero expectations of this going into the season. I just hoped to do well and make a good showing, but actually to win the co-angler award for the EverStart is just far past any expectation I ever had.”

Wickham also earned the distinction of being the first-ever Western Division Co-angler of the Year, ranking first in year-end points standings after the Western Division’s inaugural year. His season was highlighted by a victory on California’s Clear Lake, and he never finished outside the top 25 in four regular-season events. In fact, he finished outside the top three only once.

“The EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award is meant to honor anglers who make their mark from the back of the boat, and who better to be the first winner of this award than Jim Wickham,” said Krista Heidgerken for Evinrude. “His stellar year in 2003 epitomizes a dominant season, and we are proud to award Jim this distinction along with a new Evinrude direct injection outboard on a Ranger boat equipped with EverStart batteries.”

Evinrude Outboards has been a vital member of the FLW Outdoors sponsorship team for more than 20 years. In addition to the EverStart Series, Evinrude sponsors the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. The EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award is just one of the many ways that Evinrude continues to support tournament anglers.

“As title sponsor of the EverStart Series, it is an honor to give an angler like Jim Wickham the EverStart Batteries and Evinrude Outboard Engines Co-angler Award,” said Victoria Albin for EverStart Batteries. “Jim represents the EverStart Series well with his great performances on the water, and he perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a great co-angler.”

EverStart Batteries began its high-profile association with FLW Outdoors in 1998, when it became title sponsor of the EverStart Series, a tournament trail designed as a pathway to the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour. EverStart Batteries, which are sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores, is also a proud sponsor of FLW Outdoors’ five other tournament trails.

FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, administers the EverStart Series. FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. For more information about FLW Outdoors, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about Evinrude outboard engines, visit Evinrude.com. For more information about EverStart Batteries, visit EverStart-Batteries.com.