Gary Klein Powers His Triton To Victory At Lowe's WCF Tourney
Mount Vernon, IL - For nearly 20 years Gary Klein has been one of the most recognizable personalities on the professional fishing circuit. As a 19-time BassMasters Classic qualifier and two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, Gary is at the very top of the sport. And after his win at the Lowes World Championship Fishing Tournament on Rend Lake in Illinois, Gary has demonstrated that his boat handling skill runs a mighty close second to his angling prowess.
The Lowes W.C.F. format goes traditional bass tournaments one better with two distinctly different events under one banner. Angling accounts for 60 percent of contestants' score while the unique Boat Handling/Performance Trials make-up the other 40 percent.
The Boat Handling portion consists of a closed-course slalom run where drivers negotiate a series of pre-set buoys against the clock. The turns replicate the way a boat operator might have to steer to avoid water-borne obstacles like floating debris, the shallows, or the occasional 10-pointer crossing a creek. It's a high skill, high RPM event and a crowd pleaser the likes of which professional fishing has never seen before. Drivers are quick to note that they can hear the spectators' cheers even over the din of their 225 HP engines racing at nearly 6000 RPMs.
Intially, there were a few people who raised some safety concerns, but no less an authority than Tad Whitten of the American Power Boat Association said emphatically that "This is the safest event that we've ever sanctioned". He continued, "What we are doing is extremely minimal in risk compared to the other forms of motorsports."
Gary Klein's unmatched skills with both casting outfit and steering wheel in hand were handsomely rewarded with a check for $75,000, the tournament's top prize. Interestingly, Gary has been a Triton Team member for less than a year, yet the W.C.F. win was one of the most memorable of his career. Gary states, "There's more to fishing than crankbaits and worms, getting to the best fishing location first is an important aspect of the sport and a man's boat handling skills and his choice of the right boat play a big part in his overall tournament success. I feel very fortunate to be part of the Triton Team. With former world power boat racing champion and company president Earl Bentz leading the way, Triton is constantly raising the bar on boating performance. And Triton's support of its team members goes beyond anything I have ever experienced before. The Triton Support Staff attends the majority of our tournaments and they keep our rigs in top-notch competitive condition. We're always ready to race to the fish or negotiate a tight line of buoys at the performance trials."
Gary was not the only Triton Team member to fare well on Rend Lake, in fact, contestants who took the top seven spots were all at the wheel of a Triton - a remarkable feat and a credit to the quality of individuals on the Triton Team and to the support that each receives from the factory.