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Of Children, Miracles, and the Tracy Byrd Big Bass Tournament
By Ed Snyder

5th Annual Tracy Byrd Big Bass Tournament

Saturday, April 1, 2000, Twin Dikes Marina, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

It's hard to understand just why misting cool rains, mixed with light southeast breezes, and gloomy overcastting skies could possibly be described as being "purrrr-fect" big bass fishing weather, but you would've had to have been one of the hundreds of big bass anglers who were competing at the 5th Annual Tracy Byrd Big Bass tournament to understand that kind of angler logic, a logic that paid-off "BIG" for several of those big bass anglers who finished in the top thirty "overall" positions.

"Four hundred and Forty Four anglers fished my tournament today, announced Nashville Country Music Star, TNN Outdoors host, and East Texas Homeboy, Tracy Byrd, "and for a good cause as the needs for the Children's Miracle Network, and the Spindletop Foundation, will benefit greatly from the donations by these fantastic anglers. And with that, Tracy Byrd began calling the top big bass anglers up on stage to receive their just re-wards. "With an 8.84 lb bass weighed-in during the 10:am to 11:am hour folks, Tracy announced to the large spectator crowd, "one of Sam Rayburn's own, Bob Sealy. "And with a "new" Big Bass record for this tournament, Tracy grinned, "a real whopper of a bass weighed-in during the 9:am to 10:am hour, a 10.8 lb lunker caught by Chris DeValle, also of Sam Rayburn, TX.

1st Big Bass-(10.8 lbs)- "Carolina rigged Zoom lizards, answered the "Team Mom's" angler who had just weighed-in the 10.8 lb lunker which would take the 1st place "overall" position for the Tracy Byrd Big Bass event, "worked along 2' to 10' Needmore Point hump drop-offs, he further informed as he explained how he fished Allstar rods and Garcia reels spooled with Berkley BG-15# mono. Fishing his first Tracy Byrd Big Bass tournament "ever", the excited angler told of how he caught his "largest ever" bass while dragging his bait down from a 2' drop-offs along Needmore Point. Chris DeValle, a new resident of the Sam Rayburn Lake community, was awarded the keys to a "fully rigged" $26,000 Nitro 901/Mercury 200 bass boat & trailer for his 9:20 a:m: Big-bite.

2nd Big Bass-(8.84 lbs)- "J.T. "the lipper" Sparks, announced Bob "McBass" Sealy, as he began to explain how he managed to catch and land his 2nd place "overall" finish. "Due to a night ball game my 12 year old fishing partner was late getting up, Bob informed, "so it was probably about 8:30 a:m:, or so, before we even finally got out on the lake."Heading over to the "Saw-Dust" pile near Farmers Flats, Bob pinpointed, "I then started fishing bleeding shiner Traps, while my buddy preferred working Wacky worms. "About my 4th cast, Bob re-informed, "I hooked a "GOOD-UN" which broke off before I could even get it to the boat, "immediately after loosing that huge fish, Bob told, "I then re-casted back to the bank edges where I "again" hooked up with another big bass. "But this time, Bob advised with a grin, my partner was ready as I managed to get it to the boat where he quickly "lip-landed" that huge bass. Bob Sealy "and" J.T. "the lipper" Sparks, were awarded a $6,000 Polaris ATV for Bobs "bank-shallow" catch.....(Pssst...whispered Sealy, that first big bass I lost was MUCH, MUCH bigger)

Children's Casting Kid Winners-(Sponsored by the S/E TX B.A.S.S. Federation)-
(7-10 yrs)-
*1st-Lauren Bridges-Beaumont TX-
*2nd-Luke Crain-Baytown TX-
*3rd-Brittany Woods-Burkeville TX-
*4th-Jake Parker-Lufkin TX-
(11 to 14 yrs)-
*1st-Dawn Powell-League City TX-
*2nd-Ashley Maginot-Vidor TX-
*3rd-Ashli Chandler-League City TX-
*4th-Courtney Dyess-Vidor TX-

Top 5 "Overall" Big Bass Winners;
1st-(10.8 lbs)-DeValle, Chris, Sam Rayburn, TX.$1,000 Bass Pro Shop Gift Cert-Nitro/Mercury Bass Boat-$26,000
2nd-(8.84 lbs)-Sealy, Bob, Sam Rayburn, TX.-$1,000 Bass Pro Shop Gift Cert.-POLARIS ATV-$6,000
3rd-(8.59 lbs)-Latham, Charles, Orange, TX.-$1,000 Bass Pro Shop Gift Cert." "$4,000 "
4th-(8.11 lbs)-Henslee, Melvin, Beaumont, TX.-$1,000 Bass Pro Shop Gift Cert." "$3,000 "
5th-(7.93 lbs)-Malone, Paul, Beaumont, TX.-$1,000 Bass Pro Shop Gift Cert." "$2,000 "

Over $1,100 in hourly Big Bass prizes were awarded for the weigh-in hours starting at 7:am and finishing at the 2:pm weigh-in hour with random drawings also awarded for Allstar rods & other prizes which included a day of fishing with BassMaster Pro Zell Rowland on Lake Conroe, TX. After Nashville Country Artist, Tracy Byrd, closed out his 5th annual Big Bass event, the attending Big Bass anglers were awarded over $90,000 in cash & prizes, awarding the Grand Prize of a $26,000 fully-rigged Nitro 901/Mercury 200 Bass Boat & Trailer to the "Overall" biggest bass of the tournament which was caught by Chris DeValle of Sam Rayburn, TX.

Coordinated for the purpose of raising funds for the needs of the "Children's Miracle Network" as well as "Spindle Top 2001" the 5th Annual Tracy Byrd Big Bass Tournament event managed to raise -(total monies not available at this print-time)-

The 5th Annual Tracy Byrd Tournament was taped and scheduled for television airing by Beaumont TV-6 news-cast.

All hourly weigh-in updates were live remote controlled by Ranch Radio 102.7 fm-Jasper TX.
All bass were recovered and live released by the Bass-N-Bucks fish recovery barge with the assistance of the Orangefield High School Honor Students-

For more information on this years 5th Annual event, as well as scheduling info; for next years 6th Annual event, contact (409)-727-8941 or clic to <>
Tournament Sponsors; Grand Casino Coushatta of Kinder, LA.- Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, - KD97 Kayd-FM Radio,- Philpott Ford of Nederland TX,- KFDM-TV of Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange TX.- Tracker Marine,-Nitro Bass Boats,- Bass Pro Sops,- Spindletop Centennial,- Children's Miracle Network,- "and" the Tracy Byrd Big Bass Anglers.

Tournament Director-David Concienne-(L)- & Event Coordinator-Angela Baker-(C)-with DeValle and his 10.80 "Nitro-Winner"

Tracy Byrd awards Polaris to 2nd place, Bob Sealy & "the Lipper"

< photos by Ed Snyder >

Nashville Country Artist & TNN Outdoors' Host,Tracy Byrd and Tournament Director, David Concienne, with 10.80 lb Big Bass

Tracy Byrd hands 1st place Nitro-keys to the DeValle's

3rd place angler, Charles Latham, enjoys a moment with Tracy

The Orangefield HS honor students with Tracy Byrd

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