The party is still nine months away but the invitations are officially in the mail.
Wednesday night’s random draw at La Place Rendez-Vous for the 40 remaining spots in the annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship next July featured everything from drama to a delighted dancing fish.
“Bobber,” the official tournament mascot, bounced in celebration when its disguised inhabitant, Andrew Rogozinski, was selected 31st overall to gain one of the prized positions in next year’s derby.
“I guess being ‘Bobber’ was a lucky charm,” smiled Rogozinski, 19, who has put together an impressive lucky streak by qualifying through the draw all three years the FFCBC has held the lottery.
“I was a little nervous, but more hopeful than anything,” he added. “I figured it would be nice to fish in the tourney one last time before I head off for school next year.”
Former FFCBC participant Jason Cain of Fort Frances, one-half of the popular “Underdawgs” duo, nabbed the number-one position in the draw, followed by Jeff Barr of Nevis, Mn. and Nestor Falls resident Fred Kelly.
Fort Frances and Minnesota tied with 11 teams each in the top 40, with participants also drawn from as far away as Texas and Tennessee.
A total of 117 entrants had their names in the draw barrel—13 more than last year.
The top 90 finishers from this past July’s FFCBC, along with the winners of six regional fishing derbies throughout this year, already have qualified for next year’s event.
All those picked after the top 40 will be ranked in numerical order on the tournament’s waiting list.
If any teams already qualified have to withdraw, the corresponding number of those at the top of the waiting list will move into the bottom portion of the tournament field.