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Boler Returns to BASS Competition After Katrina Clean-up

6/18/2007

CELEBRATION, Fla. — There was a familiar face back among the pros in this past weekend's Bassmaster Central Open on Louisiana's Red River.

Fishing fans may recall that Roger Boler hit the professional fishing scene by finishing fourth in the 2003 Bassmaster Angler of the Year race and entered the 2003 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta as the heavy local favorite.

Boler was successful enough in 2005 to qualify for the inaugural season of the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2006. Instead, he took a two-year hiatus from BASS action as his family and neighbors struggled to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Boler has spent the last two years rebuilding his home in Slidell and helping to restore electrical power throughout southeast Louisiana.

"I couldn't make myself fish and leave my family," Boler told the Shreveport Times last week. "We were very fortunate in that we didn't get flooded, but we did lose our roof, and half of Slidell was under water."

Boler had retired from his position in the engineering department of a power company after 19 years in 2001 to pursue a fishing career. He had continued to work for his former employer in the off-season, but was offered a full-time job after the hurricane.

"Little did anyone know just how much time it would take to get everything back together," Boler told the newspaper. "There's still a lot of work that needs to be done."

Boler struggled over the weekend in the tournament held in his home state, finishing 116th with 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

FREE-WHEELIN' WEEKEND.

BASS and Walt Disney World Resort recently helped the National Wild Turkey Federation provide 12 young people with disabilities the opportunity of a lifetime — bass fishing at the most magical place on Earth.

Youth members of the NWTF's Wheelin' Sportsmen program from several states met at Walt Disney World for the second Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF Ultimate Fishing Fantasy.

Participants enjoyed a guided fishing excursion with the help of BASS officials on the resort's famed bass-rich lakes, along with other fun activities on the property. Wheelin' Sportsmen provides people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors through local chapter events nationwide.

GRAND EFFORT.

While the Elite pros are enjoying the fine fishing on Grand Lake this week, it is important to note that government officials are concerned about future development on its shorelines.

In fact, the Oklahoma chapter of the BASS Federation Nation recently provided input in the Shoreline Management Plan, which is designed to help guide such development adjacent to the reservoir. Chapter members want to make sure that the important fisheries habitat along the shoreline of Grand Lake is protected now and for future generations.

The Oklahoma chapter also has received a $10,000 BASS access grant to help with the construction of a tournament weigh-in facility on Lake Eufaula.

HOTTEST RIG RUNNING UPDATE.

Zell Rowland of Montgomery, Texas, is the winner of Week 8 in the Hottest Rig Running contest, according to Bassmaster Elite Series fans. Rowland took 30.7 percent of the vote. Arkansas' Scott Rook and Florida's Bernie Schultz were second and third, respectively.

Fans can vote for select Elite Series pros, including Marty Stone and Kevin Short, and pick their favorite boat wraps in Week 9. The creativity of the pros and their primary sponsors will be on display throughout the 11 Elite Series tournaments. See them at www.espnoutdoors.com/hottestrig.

Each week will feature a different group of anglers' boats for which fans can vote. Winners advance to the final round July 6-13. Second-place boats from weeks 1-10 will compete in a Second Chance Qualifier, getting a chance in week 11 to win a spot in the final round. Voting is limited to one vote per person each week. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 and will be awarded at the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon in Syracuse, N.Y.

WRAP RAP.

Elite Series pro Derek Remitz has garnered a great deal of exposure for his title sponsor — Omega Custom Tackle.

The small jig-maker, located in Ballwin, Mo., was a little-known lure manufacturer until it wrapped Remitz's boat, which he has driven to one Elite Series victory and the season-long lead in the Toyota Rookie of the Year standings.

DID YOU KNOW?

Reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli has cashed a check in just two of six Elite Series events this season. But an 18th-place showing at Smith Mountain Lake moved up the New Jersey pro to 30th in the Angler of the Year standings, and he has a good shot at qualifying for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO...

Elite Series pro Kevin Short would be spending more time in the office of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, where he is the operations manager.

THEY SAID IT. k

"They've got a boat factory somewhere up that river. They just kept coming and coming, and coming." Elite Series pro John Murray jokes about the weekend boat traffic on the recent Blue Ridge Brawl presented by Advance Auto Parts on Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com. Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN's latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.

News exclusives, audio and video clips of bass fishing's biggest stars, loads of discounts and more are all part of BASS Insider, an exclusive membership, now available at www.bassmaster.com.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, staging more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages and sanctions bass fishing tournaments for every skill level culminating with the Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.