It sort of seems like ancient history, but it wasn’t all that long ago that the bass world was frantic about Powroznikgate.
For those of you who’ve forgotten, the Bassmaster Classic Bracket tournament on the Niagara River was held in a bracket style format, with the winner getting an automatic berth in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. Seven of the eight competitors had already more or less clinched spots in big rodeo, with Koby Kreiger being the sole outlier. Jacob Powroznik, Kreiger’s friend and roommate on the road, not only took a dive when he and his buddy were matched up, but he actually coached Kreiger through the process of catching a bass to beat him.
Of course, that would’ve been far less likely to happen if there’d been a $50,000 or $100,000 top prize on the line. I’m sure that Jacob likes Koby almost as much as Joanie liked Chachi, but that ain’t six figures worth of like.
While the live coverage was compelling, B.A.S.S. has surely realized that the format needs to be tweaked. Maybe a larger prize alone is the fix that they need, although smart money says that they’ll probably qualify the first eight guys out of the Classic cut at the end of the 2017 season for a true cutthroat competition.
I’ve got another idea. So far no one I’ve mentioned it to has thought it would be feasible. Some have outright claimed that it would cheapen the sport. I don’t care – I’m going to half-seriously (or perhaps quarter-seriously) suggest it anyway:
What if we had an eight man event for a spot in the Classic in which the competitors were the high bidders from the public. Put the eight slots up on eBay and let the high rollers put their money where their mouths are. Surely we could find eight oil company executives, plastic surgeons and distant Kardashian cousins who would put up a million bucks apiece for a 12.5% chance at competing in the Classic. Then we’d take that $8 million bucks and put it in the Classic purse. You could give the winner a cool $2 million, and divide the rest among the remaining 50 or so contestants, an average of $120,000 apiece. Yes, it might seem gimmicky, but if you’re an angler you have to assume that this additional contestant has no real chance of competing. Moreover, it’s two million bones up for grabs by one skilled Harry or Charlie, more than has ever been paid out in a bass tournament. If you’re B.A.S.S., you might not like it, but it takes some of the financial burden off of your investors.
Whales buy their way into big card games, horse races and other sports. Might there be a place for it in bass fishing? I seriously doubt it’ll ever come to pass but I can guarantee you no one would let off the gas with seven figures on the line.