After a one-year hiatus, the Peteys, my year-end awards gala for the professional bass fishing industry, is back with a vengeance. After six years of Price Waterhouse, hanging chads (Morgenthaler/Grigsby/Pipkens/Brauer), Steve Harvey gaffes and minor tabulation scandals, we didn’t know if we’d be back, but the verdict is in and it’s time to hand out some awards.
You get a boat! And you get a boat! And you! And you! And you!
Okay, not really. All the winners get is a firm handshake and the knowledge that they’ve been recognized for their superior achievements by the longest continuously-running semi-professional blog in the bass biz.
As for a Master of Ceremonies, we were unable to procure the services of the recently-made-available Kevin Hart. Stormy Daniels wanted too much. Abe Vigoda didn’t return our calls. Tony Christian was on vacation. So you’re stuck with me, and my trusty sequined assistant.
Here they are, in no particular order [Remember, these achievements have no monetary value, although two-time winners may get grandfathered into an automatic spot on the new tour that Jeff Bezos is starting in 2020]:
Award: The Bekins A1 Van Lines Moving Award
Winner: We have a tie, between Clent Davis and James Niggemeyer, both of whom made the most of their move from the Elites to FLW by finishing first and second, respectively, at the Forrest Wood Cup. Clent would’ve been a steel trap winner, but his 2019 return to the Elites compromises the integrity of his transfer. He’s ping-ponged back and forth between the two tours more often that FLW MC Chris Jones loses his voice.
Presented By: The Estate of Sherman Helmsley, who was unable to be here tonight, but sent his “Movin’ on Up” theme music in his place.
Award: “What’s in a Name” Billy Shakespeare Award
Winner: Ned Kehde. The inventor of the Ned Rig has done something no other outdoor writer has done before (with the possible exception of Buck Perry the spoonplugger) – he got pro anglers to depend on something he developed. This was the year the Ned Rig really broke out as a constant companion for many tour-level pros. It even produced wins. If his name had been “Jim,” do you think we’d be talking about the “Joe Rig”? I doubt it.
Presented By: Clark Reehm/Rheem, Kelly Jordon/Jordan, Jeff Kriet/Kreit and the previously-rewarded Clent/Clint Davis.
Award: Doublemint Gum Double Your Pleasure Award
Winner: Jordan Lee, who may not legally be able to buy beer yet, but nevertheless put two big Classic trophies on his mantle before the age of 30. The last person to win two Classics in a row? KVD. Before that? Clunn. Of course, each of those anglers didn’t claim three in a row, but they did manage to win again. If all goes according to the BPT crew’s plan, Lee won’t have that opportunity, so if he wants to get there he’ll have to win in March in Knoxville.
Presented By: NBA Coach Pat Riley, who trademarked the phrase “Three-Peat.”
Award: Howard Stern “King of All Media” Award
Winner: Mike Iaconelli, in a unanimous vote. His television show on NatGeo Wild sets the standard for what every fishing program should be – different, non-promotional, entertaining to anglers and non-anglers alike. The only thing cooler would’ve been if he’d done it on PBS … with a Tupac hologram co-hosting.
Presented By: The Jerky Boys, from across the river in Queens. Bring your tool box.
Award: Which Way Will it Go Award (sponsored by both PetSmart and Pets.com)
Winner: Boyd Duckett. For better or for worse, Boyd Duckett is seen by many as the face and the driving force behind the new Bass Pro Tour. That’s not entirely fair – they certainly have some investors with beaucoups dinero, and anglers like Timmy Horton and Gary Klein have been just as involved, but if the BPT is a huge success or a colossal failure that status is likely to reflect most brightly on Boyd.
Presented By: Satoshi Nakamoto, putative creator of Bitcoin, which has had quite a roller coaster of a year as well, and might end up as a hero or a zero.
Award: Lick Your Chops so Hard you Need a Bib Award
Winner: Bryan Thrift, who already dominated the competition at FLW (last year he finished 15th in AOY, his first time out of the top 10 since 2011. He’s never missed the Cup). Now take away a bunch of the check-grabbers to the Elite Series and the BPT and whaddaya got? Sure, there are plenty of solid sticks up and down the field, and Dudley and Scott Martin must be excited, too, but anything less than a top 10 for Thrift should be a huge disappointment. Like Charles Jefferson in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” they may just fly him in for Championship Sunday.
Presented By: Tom Jones, the 6’11” 19 year old who competes against 3rd graders in a Las Cruces, New Mexico recreational basketball league.
Award: “Don’t You Forget About Me” Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Rick Clunn. Amidst all of the hubbub about the three competing tours this offseason, we’ve seen stars do the Ickey Shuffle from one to the next. Even when they’ve stayed put, there’s been speculation about what they turned down, or what it would’ve taken to get them to move. Meanwhile, Clunn has been awfully silent and there’s been little speculation about his future. He’s coming back to the Elites, where he’s fished since KVD was wearing Pampers, and maybe he’ll get back to the Classic and notch number five while KVD leaves for presumably greener pastures (Note: KVD could win in 2019, but you get my point). Clunn would likely be the first to admit that he’s not as consistently competitive as he was a decade or two ago, and he hasn’t fished a Classic in a decade, but he won an Elite Series tournament in 2016, so it would be folly to assume that all of his best days are behind him.
Presented By: Christie Brinkley, who was gorgeous when Rick won his first Classic, and remains gorgeous today (but no one knows if she’s worth a damn with a square bill).