Bismarck to Host 2006 PWT Championship
Apr 27th, 2006 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Apr 27th, 2006 at 12:00 AM
The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail will hold their prestigious Mercury Championship Oct. 13-15, in Bismarck, ND. Hosted by the North Dakota Division of Tourism and the Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Mercury Championship is the “Big Dance” for PWT pro anglers.At the Championship, the top 50 pros, judged by their 2006 performance, compete for a first place prize of more than $100,000. They will fish Lake Sakakawea out of historic Garrison, and commute to the Civic Center daily, where thousands of fans will cheer the action. Past Championships drew huge crowds to the inside festival weigh-in action and Outdoors Festival/Sportshow. From 1996 to 2002, PWT pros fished the Missouri River below Bismarck. Recent winners include Keith Kavajecz, Wisconsin (2002), Mike Gofron, Illinois (2001), and Ron Seelhoff, Colorado (2000). The wrinkle in this year’s event will be fishing on Lake Sakakawea. Kavajecz said, “This is one of the best walleye reservoirs on the Missouri River. While filming there last fall, it was great action with a number of bruisers. I hope to qualify and defend my title.”New in 2006 will be a family-oriented Outdoor Festival with a rock-climbing wall, the famous Dock Dog competition and other events along with a Sport Show in the adjacent arena. The pros will work closely with area schools and spend one day visiting classrooms. The PWT again plans numerous”young-angler” incentives at the free festivities. Shakespeare rods and reels will be distributed to 1,000 youngsters, and Plano tackle boxes will go to 500 kids.North Dakota state tourism director Sara Otte Coleman said, “This is not only a great opportunity for the PWT fishermen to experience our state’s legendary fishing, but a chance for us to showcase North Dakota’s outdoor adventures to a national audience. We are very excited to host the 2006 PWT Championship.”Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director Terry Harzinski said, “The Convention & Visitors Bureau is excited to have the PWT Championship return with the extensive national media coverage it provides. We look forward to making this seventh Championship hosted by Bismarck and Mandan a huge success.”The City of Garrison and the Garrison Chamber of Commerce will coordinate launching on Lake Sakakawea. Speaking for the group, Diane Affeldt, city auditor and Chamber secretary/treasurer said, “We’re eager to assist the PWT and excited to be part of the Championship. Lake Sakakawea is a great body of water. It’s challenging, yet boasts some huge walleyes. We expect them to get hooked on Garrison.”During the Championship, non-fishing observers from the local area join pros. A committee will soon be formed to sign-up volunteers for this prestigious opportunity. Many observers will be awarded with Gerbing’s heated foul weather suits, Lowrance handheld GPS units, Beckman drift socks, and 50 gift certificates for Northland fishing tackle and Mack’s Lure tackle, just for riding along. Each certificate is worth $50. Local, regional and national corporations and businesses will be involved in various venues, as sponsors and at the PWT Outdoors Festival/Sportshow.