Clunn Eyes Open Doors To Classic

Category: press release

 Oct 8th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Oct 8th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Rick Clunn of Ava., Mo., is in one of the oddest positions of his storied career: He could still qualify for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Louisiana if one of two Bassmaster Open doors swing his way.

Clunn finished five points shy of qualifying for a 2009 Classic berth through the Elite Series season-long standings, the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. Normally, that would have been the end of his bid for a Classic entry.

But, at the beginning of the season, Clunn elected to compete in the three-event 2008 Bassmaster Central Open circuit in addition to his 11-event Elite schedule. Now, with one event to go in the Central Open circuit, where the top three will qualify for the Classic, Clunn sits 19 points behind the pro in third place. Until the conclusion of the final Central Open event – Oct. 30-Nov. 1 on Texas’ Lake Texoma – Clunn won’t know whether he earned a Classic invite via the Central Open.

The plot thickens: By Nov. 1, he may already have been awarded a Classic berth. This scenario depends on the outcome of the Bassmaster Southern Open division, a circuit in which Clunn isn’t competing. That circuit wraps up Oct. 18 on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville.

It just so happens that the top three pros in the Southern Open points race already qualified for the 2009 Classic through the Elite Series. But, if any one of them holds on to finish in the top three in the Southern Open, that pro would take his Classic qualifier via the Open.

And then the pro in 38th place in the Elite Series standings – Clunn – would be awarded a Classic spot by virtue of his Elite performance.

Clunn is confident he can get to the Classic through the Central Open circuit.

“I’d prefer to make it on my own performance versus going in the back door,” Clunn said. “Obviously, I’ll take it either way it comes. It’s a numbers game, and a lot depends on who does what.”

The Central Open’s finale on Lake Texoma sets up well for him, he said.

“I feel like the top three for me is very, very doable,” he said. “Especially on Lake Texoma this time of year. I’ve always been a weak spring fisherman … but when I get into the summer and fall, I’m still a very high-level fisherman.”

Clunn’s career includes at least two unmatched accomplishments: He has qualified for 31 Bassmaster Classic competitions and he owns four Classic titles. Why is he so set on qualifying for what would be his 32nd, the 2009 Classic on the Red River?

“This is one reason I want to make it so badly: I really feel like I have a very good shot at winning this one,” he said. “I like the water, I like everything about it. I just really feel comfortable with the prospect of winning the event. Even though I don’t particularly prefer the way I might have to qualify, I definitely will take it.”

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