B.A.S.S. released the 2018 Elite Series schedule yesterday, or at least 8/11 of it, and depending on how they fill out the other three rodeos it appears that it’ll be a good one, with a solid mix of fisheries and more than a few potential slugfests.
If you’ve read this blog for any period of time then you know that I’m a big advocate of putting new waters on the schedule. If I had my way, they’d send the traveling circus out to 10 or 11 complete wild cards, and while I know that isn’t feasible for a variety of financial and outrage-based reasons, I’m always happy when the pros get to go someplace they haven't visited previously. That’s why I’m so excited by the presence of Lake Oahe on the schedule at the end of June.
I’m guessing that not only have somewhere between zero and five current Elites ever fished Oahe, but there’s a pretty good chance that less than a third of them have ever been in South Dakota. If they have, it was probably just to traverse the state – if anything, they’re more likely to have hunted there than fished in the state that in addition to being known as the home of Mount Rushmore is also occasionally referred to as “The Swinged Cat State.”
I don’t know whether the fishing will be very good (I suspect that it will surprise most of us in a positive way), so I can’t opine on that aspect of the tournament, but while we wait and see, in the meantime, here are a few fun facts about host city Pierre and South Dakota:
- It’s not pronounced the “French” way – be sure to refer to the city as “Peer.”
- The University of South Dakota (nicknamed the Coyotes) is a short distance away in Vermillion. Famous Coyotes include Tom Brokaw and former NFL punter Filip Filipovic, who upon arriving from Yugoslavia may have been surprised that he was not in the US he’d seen on TV and in movies.
- According to TripAdvisor, the #1 restaurant in Pierre is Myril Arch’s Cattleman’s Club. They have Mello Yello on tap. When picking an appetizer there, I’d have trouble choosing between the seasoned deep fried sirloin pieces and the breaded green beans served with cucumber ranch wasabi sauce.
- By my calculations, Seth Feider will likely have the shortest drive among current Elite pros, at about 450 miles, while the Lakeland, Florida Lanes will have over 1,800 miles of windshield time.
- Along the way, competitors will likely see an average of 4,264 billboards and bumper stickers advertising “Wall Drug,” the state’s sprawling tourist mall, featuring free ice water and 5 cent coffee.
- The take-off site is less than 200 miles from Mt. Rushmore.
- For Elite competitors and families seeking a more off-the-wall tourist experience, only 116 miles to the southwest in the town of Cactus Flats, there is a 6 ton prairie dog statue built in 1959.
- The state fish, flower and bird of South Dakota are the walleye, pasque and ring necked pheasant, respectively.
- In 2016, South Dakota was the 46th most populous state in terms of numbers and density, leading neighbor North Dakota by 108,000 people. Even tiny Delaware has 87,000 more people than SD.
- Perhaps in 2019 B.A.S.S. will make their first visit to South Dakota’s neighbor to the north, the aptly named North Dakota. The state’s largest lake is Sakakawea, which sounds even cooler and is harder to spell than Oahe. I can’t find out if it has bass in it, but Wikipedia informed me that the state’s second largest lake, Devil’s Lake, “has been named the perch capital of the world.”