Pros Named For Bassmaster Elite All-Star Series
Bassmaster fans have chosen Michael Iaconelli of Pitts Grove, N.J., Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., and Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., to complete the field of 12 for the July 23-31 Toyota Trucks All-Star Week in Alabama.
The "final four" All-Star anglers were revealed today by B.A.S.S. at the ICAST trade show in Las Vegas. The announcement was covered live on Bassmaster.com.
At the same time, 12 finalists in the Toyota Trucks Fan Favorites Sweepstakes were "virtually paired" with the pros for a chance to win a bass boat valued at $30,000. When the All-Star champion is crowned July 31, the fan paired with him will win a Triton 18XS bass boat with a Mercury 150 OptiMax engine. All 12 finalists will win a tackle pack from Berkley and Havoc.
The names of the 12 fan finalists and their pairings will be announced after all are contacted by B.A.S.S.
Over three weeks, 31,482 registered voters cast more than half a million votes at Bassmaster.com. Fans were permitted to vote once a day in each of four regions.
To get the vote, many of the 91 Elite anglers in the race actively campaigned. Most tapped heavily into social media and email blasts.
The closest race was in Region 2, where Missouri's Denny Brauer led from June 21-30 until Kriet overtook him July 1 and held the lead until the polls closed July 10. Kriet edged out Brauer by 551 votes, garnering 17.8 percent of Region 2 votes to Brauer's 17.4 percent. Rick Clunn of Missouri was third in Region 2 with 10.3 percent of the vote.
"I am very surprised and humbled that I got as many votes as I did," said Kriet, whose Facebook page set up by his daughter likely helped his bid. "It means a lot to me that people would take the time to vote for me. There were a lot of really, really good fishermen in my region."
Results in the other three regions were not as tight. In Region 1, Iaconelli pulled 26.5 percent of the vote, easily passing two Elite pros from Florida: Shaw Grigsby with 15.3 percent and Bobby Lane, who had 7.1 percent.
Region 3 winner Martens collected 16.6 percent of his region's vote. Second was Alabama's Tim Horton with 9.5 percent and third was Louisiana's Greg Hackney with 8.6 percent.
Reese's 23.4 percent in Region 4 was a wide margin over Alton Jones of Texas, who ended with 13.4 percent, and Brandon Palaniuk of Idaho with 11.3 percent.
Iaconelli, Kriet, Martens and Reese complete the slate of 12 anglers who will meet first on Lake Jordan near Wetumpka, Ala., on July 23 and 24. The top eight anglers after the Jordan leg will move July 29 to the Alabama River out of Montgomery, Ala., for a three-day bracketed competition. The July 31 finale will pit just two anglers for a winner-take-all prize of $100,000.
Besides the four pros announced today, Toyota Trucks All-Star anglers will be the top eight from the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series regular season. They are, in order of their points finish: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.; Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala.; Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn.; Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala.; Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla.; Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C.; and Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C.