||Texan late qualifier for '05 Bassmaster
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
By Deborah Weisberg, Special to the Post-Gazette
In a surprise move yesterday, BASS announced that veteran angler
Gary Klein qualified for the $700,000 CITGO Bassmaster Classic July 29
Klein, 47, of Weatherford, Texas, joined a field of 46 anglers vying for a $200,000 top prize.
"After careful consideration and a thorough review of the rules
pertaining to the Elite 50 point distribution, BASS has determined that
angler Gary Klein has qualified for the 2005 and 2006 CITGO Bassmaster
Classic," BASS said in a news release issued from its Celebration,
Fla., headquarters. "BASS decided to rule in the interest of Klein
after a degree of ambiguity was created by the manner in which points
were awarded on the third and fourth days of the Lake Wissota
Bassmaster Elite 50 in Chippewa Falls, Wis., on June 15-18."
Klein said yesterday in a phone interview that he appealed a decision
by BASS last month that left him out of the Classic. He tied Rick Clunn
in points after four tournaments in the Elite 50 series. "It was
something that had never happened before," Klein said. "They made the
Clunn has won four Classics, more than anyone in the tournament's
35-year history. Klein has been to 22 Classics and finished second to
2003 champion Mike Iaconelli on the Louisiana Delta. He has eight BASS
Pro Tour titles and has earned millions of dollars on the pro tour.
Though a Classic title has eluded him so far, he is hoping to change
that in Pittsburgh. Klein cannot make up for lost practice time. He
will have only the final day of "pre-fishing" all anglers get, July 27,
before the tournament.