Northern Gila County anglers are gearing up for the biggest and grandest fishing show to ever hit Arizona. But it appears the fishermen want to hold onto their entry fees for as long as possible.
Only a trio of local anglers have thus far registered for the FLW National Guard Western Series bass tournament to be held Sept. 22 to Sept. 25, 2010 at Roosevelt Lake.
“For whatever reasons, a lot of guys wait until the last minute to register,” said Jim Goughnour of the Payson FLW committee.
Chris Perkes, Bruce Johnson and Josh Johnson are the three who have registered. Perkes is entered as a pro angler and the Johnsons are entered as a father and son team with Bruce the pro and Josh the co-angler.
The upcoming National Guard Western Series tournament at Roosevelt was originally to be held in April but was changed to the fall.
The change of tournament dates, Goughnour said, “Happened at the last minute due to some kind of permit issue.”
In the Roosevelt Lake tournament format, a field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers compete the first three days, with the top five pros advancing to the finals on the last day, Saturday.
Anglers will compete for the top prize of $50,000 in the pro division and $10,000 in the co-angler division. Payouts will extend through 50th place.
Among those who have competed on the Western Series in past years is Payson pro Clifford Pirch, who lists the National Guard as one of his major sponsors.
Pirch calls the selection of Payson as a FLW National Guard Western Series tournament site a real boon for the Rim Country.
“It’ll be the biggest event we’ve ever had, and to have a televised tournament is special for Payson and the lake,” he said.
“It will also give local fishermen the chance to win some big money.”
Elks tourney tees off tomorrow
In light of tough economic times all around, Arizona Elks Association Clothe-a-Child Golf Tournament Director Becky Waer is elated that 22 four-person teams are in the benefit to be held July 31 at Payson Golf Course.
A late flurry of registrations that included five teams sponsored by the Tonto Apache Tribe, helped salvage the benefit. Payson has two other local teams entered.
All proceeds from the tournament are used to purchase clothing for needy and disadvantaged children.