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Bass derby hopefuls have fingers crossed

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Any stores that deal in rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers are probably sold out this week.

Fingers will be crossed by up to 130 duos angling for one of the 40 remaining spots up for grabs in next year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.

The draw goes tonight at 7 p.m. at La Place Rendez-Vous.

Sioux Narrows resident Dorese Harrison and her husband, Roger, held their collective breaths last year when they entered their names into the derby draw.

When his name was chosen for one of the cherished 40 spots, Dorese said the excitement was almost more than she could stand. “When I found out we got in, I don’t think I slept for three nights,” she laughed yesterday.

The couple’s good fortune extended from the draw to the actual derby itself, where they finished 10th overall and were named the top rookie team.

“We figured we would have ended up anywhere in the middle of the pack, being that it was our first year,” said Dorese. “Usually, you have to work your way up.

“It was a total surprise, and a beautiful tournament. Everything was handled so well,” she added.

Finishing in the top 90 ensured the Harrisons a return ticket for next year’s FFCBC—as well as a lot less stress come tonight’s draw.

“Isn’t that a nice thing not to have to worry about?” she chuckled.

Someone who doesn’t have that luxury is Neal Webb of Fort Frances. He can’t be present at the Rendez-Vous tonight due to work commitments, but he’ll be on the phone as much as possible for updates as to whether he is one of the lucky few selected.

“I’m optimistic that one of us [himself or partner Earl Lockman] will get our name drawn,” said Webb, who was stuck with the unenviable 53rd and final position on the waiting list to get into the derby this past July after competing with Lockman in the 2001 FFCBC.

“We’ve got a 50-50 chance. Whatever happens, happens. It’s like a lottery. If you don’t get in, there’s always next year,” he reasoned.

Meanwhile, Rob Plumridge of Fort Frances finds himself in the unaccustomed position of needing fate to smile upon him if he is to participate in next year’s FFCBC.

After automatically qualifying the last four years by virtue of their top-90 showings, Plumridge and partner Phil Bangert of Missouri finished below that rank this year and, as such, is a first-time entrant in the draw.

“It’s disappointing that I had to end up in the draw,” said Plumridge, whose best finish was 48th place in 1999. “I’m not surprised where we finished this year, considering what was happening during our pre-fishing.

“I’m sort of nervous,” the teen admitted. “It’s a big deal to be in it now, especially since I’ve fished in it a couple of times and know what it’s all about.”

As for Scott Clendenning of Fort Frances, he will approach this year’s draw with decidedly less anxiety than last time—the reason

Please see “Bass draw,”

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