Brandon Belt Grand Slam Fishing Event Gives Out Over $500,000
Consistency in sports is usually a good thing. Take, for example, some of the key stats for San Francisco Giant first baseman Brandon Belt. Over the past several years, the Hudson, Texas native has seen his On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentages steadily improving and ranking near the tops in Major League Baseball.
This past weekend, Belt hosted the first-ever Brandon Belt 100K Grand Slam Fishing Tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn. Over 325 teams took part in this record-setting event, but it was the consistent five-fish bags by Benji Gulett and Dustin Rivers that earned the anglers the $100,000 guaranteed cash payout.
The tournament kicked off on Thursday, February 3 after a strong front brought steady frigid rain to East Texas. Gulett/Rivers's total haul for day one was 21.32 pounds. That was good enough for 6th overall after day one trailing the tournament leaders (David Curtis/Mark Mueck) by nearly 4 1/2 pounds.
Then came the threat of wintry weather across the Pineywoods. Tournament officials had to make the tough, but cautious decision to cancel day two of the tourney. Instead of paring down the tournament to the top 20 teams for fishing on Saturday, all teams were allowed to compete on the final day of the tourney.
On Saturday, Gulett and Rivers brought in a bag of fish that weighed almost the same as their haul for day one. Their total weight of 21.37 increased their overall mark to 42.69 pounds. That was enough to win the overall team title by just over a pound.
Day one leaders, Curtis/Mueck, finished second with a total of 41.59 pounds, and the teams of Glen Webb and Jonathon Harper, and Mark Martin and James Laramore, finished with matching catches of 40.68.
Brandon Dickerson and Russell Lee brought in an impressive 29.07 five-fish stringer to top all Saturday weigh-ins. That was aided by a 9.73 bass which gave the pair the top big bass brought in for the tournament. The award for that is a brand new Bass Cat Eyra valued at around $80,000.
Here's a look at the top 5 overall
- Benji Gulett & Dustin Rivers, Louisiana - 42.69 ($100,000)
- David Curtis & Mark Mueck, Trinity, TX & Livingston TX - 41.59 ($30,000)
- Mark Martin & James Laramore, Port Neches, TX & Vidor, TX - 40.68 ($22,500)
- Glen Webb & Jonathon Harper, Bethel, OK & Deridder, LA - 40.68 ($15,000)
- Russell Lee & Brandon Dickenson, Sachse,TX, Montgomery, TX - 40.38 ($10,000)
Over $400,000 in cash and prizes were paid out in this inaugural tournament. Plus, over $100,000 was raised for The Father's Heart Orphanage. Hopes are high that this will be an annual event on Sam Rayburn.
A complete rundown of all the finishing teams as well as the final weigh-in/awards presentation video is available at the Brandon Belt Fishing website.
Here's a look back at the tournament.