World champion crowned, three-day country music festival closed with Jake Owen
CONROE, TX (Sept. 30, 2012) – After an unprecedented 11 anglers competed on Sunday, Bryan Thrift, of Shelbyville, NC, was crowned The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) champion. With a dominating Sunday, Thrift bested second place angler and 2010 TTBC Champion Brian Snowden at the world championship of professional bass fishing.
It was a comeback for ages at the final day, where Bryan Thrift overcame a final day deficit of 4 pounds, 12 ounces to win the 2012 TTBC by a staggering 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Even after finishing the first day of the TTBC in 3rd place with a 16 pound, 12 ounce limit that included a 6.22 pound kicker, the North Carolina pro wasn’t very optimistic about his chances of contending for the title.
The turning point in Thrift’s tournament came when heavy cloud cover and wind arrived in the area late on Friday afternoon and lingered throughout the remaining two days of competition. On Saturday, Thrift returned to his magical stretch and caught two keepers on a buzzbait in the first hour of competition. He finished day two with a modest limit weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces and snuck inside the final day cut in 9th place with a total weight of 28 pounds, 4 ounces, nearly 5 pounds behind day two leader Brian Snowden.
On Sunday, Thrift returned to his primary stretch and quickly went to work in the blustery conditions that persisted throughout the day. “I picked up a Chatterbait and caught one and missed one. I went back down the bank with a crankbait and caught a 4 pounder. That got me off to a good start and calmed me down,” he explained.
He landed a 7 pounder at 10:30 and added a 4 pound, 8 ounce largemouth shortly after noon. With minutes remaining in the day, he pulled up on a brush pile and boated a 6 pound, 8 ounce fish that boosted his final day weight to an even 25 pounds and capped off an incredible comeback.
“This tournament is truly a championship event,” explained Thrift just moments after lifting the TTBC trophy in front of the crowd that braved the inclement weather to witness history. “You’re fishing against the top professional bass fisherman over the course of the year, so it’s a stacked field. “I’d like to thank Gulf States Toyota for putting this tournament on. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year, and I’m glad that they let this old Chevy boy come catch a few fish.”
Toyota angler Terry Scroggins earned the ATX Wheels Big Bass Award for his 7 lb. 7 oz. catch on Saturday. Scroggins will receive a set of four ATX Premium wheels for his efforts.
The tournament remains a non-entry fee event, with all 50 competing anglers taking home guaranteed prize money. In addition, the TTBC continued its focus on conservation and adhere to strict catch, weigh and immediate release format that has earned the event national praise for its conservation efforts over the past five years.
TTBC is more than just world class bass fishing, and three of country music’s biggest stars took to the main stage. Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Jake Owen all entertained the fans throughout the weekend, with Owen closing out the event on Sunday night. Free family fun was also a highlight of the event, with activities in the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor Expo such as the Toyota Drive Center, Reliant Energy Outdoor Adventures Area, Yamaha ATV Test Track, Milwaukee Tools Autograph Alley and Sam’s Club Kids’ Zone.
The unique professional angling tournament focuses on conservation and features a catch and release program that highlights the efforts of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. A generous donation of $250,000 was given to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department on behalf of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic to fund youth education and outreach programs. Over the past five years, $1.5 million has been donated to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department through the TTBC.