*photos courtesy of FLWFISHING.COM
After six years of tremendous galas and much acclaim, budget cuts have forced us to cancel the Petey Awards for 2017. We tried until the final bell, but our writer went on strike and we couldn't go on. We regret any inconvenience and may elect to resume the pomp and circumstance in 2018, should we find a title sponsor. Until then, we remain in awe of our past winners, and we’re sure that their gold-anodized trophies and cubic zirconium championship rings will soon earn glory on ebay.
The real winners this year are the anglers who remain on the FLW Tour. They’ve managed to shed two more absolute check devourers – Wesley Strader and Shin Fukae – to the Elite Series. Together the unlikely pair has earned over $1.6 million from the organization and they’ve been fixtures at the Cup. Strader hasn’t missed one since 2008. Shin hasn’t missed one since 2013, and before that you’d have to go back to 2005 to find one that hasn’t had his name on the roster. While anything could happen and they certainly weren’t guaranteed entry in future Cups, for all meaningful purposes two more spots in the big one have opened up.
If you’re just a check chaser, it means that your chances of breaking even or making a profit have gone up slightly, too. Over the past five years, Strader has earned 24 checks in 31 regular season FLW Tour events (77%) and Fukae has earned 19 checks over that same span (61%). It might not matter to guys like Andy Morgan or Cody Meyer, who are almost always near the top, but if you’re a consistent bubble boy you can probably hear the cash registers ringing.