Payson professional fisherman Clifford Pirch is one of 58 of the nation’s top pros vying for a $500,000 payday and a place in angling history.
It all began yesterday, Aug. 11, and will continue to Aug. 14 on Lake Quachita in Hot Springs, Ark.
The occasion is the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, which is widely considered the most prestigious and exciting bass-fishing championship in the nation.
To participate pros must qualify during the regular season, which is what Pirch did, for the fourth time, during an FLW Series Western Division tournament.
He enters the Forrest Wood Cup clutching his first FLW Tour win during his seven years as a pro.
It was chalked up in April at an FLW Tour tournament on Lake Chickamauga near Chattanooga, Tenn.
For the win, he was awarded $125,000 in prize money.
Less than a month after the win, Pirch tacked on a third-place finish to his resume, winning the bronze at an Everstart Series Western Division event on the California Delta.
In the three-day fray Pirch boated a limit of 15 bass that tipped the scales at 65 pounds, 10 ounces and earned him $8,983 in prize money.
His catch at Lake Chickamauga was a four-day limit of 20 fish that tipped the scales at a whopping 77 pounds, 3 ounces.
Pirch has also won the U.S. Open championships in 2007 and 2010 and is sponsored this year by High Precision Range (HPR), which manufactures ammunition at a high-tech plant located near the Payson Airport.
For the Forrest Wood Cup, FLW spokesperson Julie Huber says, “more than 60,000 fans will gather over the course of four days to witness the best in industry fish for a chance to win the championship.”
Cyclists continue to praise the inaugural Fire on the Rim mountain bike race as a premier event with a bright future.
Rim Country Middle School science teacher Scott Davidson, who participated in the race held Aug. 5 near Pine and Strawberry, says:
“I thought the race was great. I enjoyed the course and heard similar comments from other racers. It was technical, but fun and challenging. The racers were a great group of folks. As always, I enjoyed the camaraderie. This was an especially poignant race for me because I was on a team with two good friends of mine — Eric Molitor, who just returned from active duty and Daniel Conley, who will be heading to NAU at the end of this month.
“I know that Janet, Katie and the board of Fire on the Rim worked tirelessly to pull off this event. I think it went very well.
“We had 88 entries, which isn’t bad for the first year of an event.”