One finalist to win largest payout in fantasy sports history during FLW Fantasy Fishing grand-prize event in Columbia, S.C.; Ohio woman wins $100,000 for championship picks


MINNEAPOLIS — Who will be the first person in America to make fantasy sports history by claiming the first $1 million prize ever awarded in an online fantasy sports game? Will it be a retired grandmother, a stay-at-home dad or a college student?

On Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, fishing fans and fantasy sports players from around the world will turn their attention to Columbia, S.C., where FLW Fantasy Fishing, an international, online fantasy game, has invited the top 15 finalists who competed in its seven-tournament fantasy fishing season, to participate in the final ceremony of its inaugural season – the unveiling of the first $1 million grand prize winner in fantasy sports history.

To reach Columbia, S.C., located in the heart of bass-fishing country, each finalist clicked on and selected 10 professional bass anglers before each Walmart FLW Tour stop, the nation’s premier professional bass-fishing tournaments. Based on the on-the-water performance of their bass pros, the player who accumulated the most points over seven tournaments wins a guaranteed $1 million. The other finalists won’t go home empty handed, though. The second-place finisher will win a new Ranger Z19 bass boat powered with a Yamaha engine, valued at $54,000. The third-place finisher will win a new Chevy Silverado truck, valued at $40,000, and other finalists will win prizes such as a $25,000 Walmart gift card and a $20,000 BP gas card.

In keeping with the previous six tournaments, the first place finisher of FLW Fantasy Fishing’s seventh tournament, the Forrest Wood Cup, which was conducted this past weekend in Columbia, S.C., will be honored with a check for $100,000.

In its first season, FLW Fantasy Fishing has rocketed to the top of the fantasy sports world, gaining fans from all over the globe who have been attracted to the game’s $7.3 million in cash and prizes, representing the highest payout of any fantasy sports game in the world. To date, 4,000 prizes have been awarded to FLW Fantasy Fishing players, including players located in Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Poland and Estonia.

“FLW Fantasy Fishing has revolutionized fantasy sports,” said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors? and creator of FLW Fantasy Fishing. “By making FLW Fantasy Fishing fun, easy to play, and free, and by offering more than 4,000 prizes, including our $1 million grand prize, we’ve set a new standard that will be hard to beat.”

The suspense-filled $1 million event will take place at Colonial Center in downtown Columbia, S.C., starting at noon EDT and will conclude at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will include a free lunch to the first 4,000 fans, free Berkley fishing rod and reel combos for the first 1,000 attendees and free FLW Fantasy Fishing t-shirts. A convoy of 15 Walmart FLW Tour bass-fishing rigs will bring each of the 15 FLW Fantasy Fishing finalists to the event.

Awarding the $1 million grand prize will be Michael Bennett, a 24-year-old pro bass angler from Lincoln, Calif. (suburb of Sacramento), who won $1 million as the Forrest Wood Cup champion Sunday in Columbia, S.C. Bennett, the youngest Forrest Wood Cup champion in the history of the Walmart FLW Tour, beat out the world’s 77 best bass pros with a total two-day catch of 27 pounds, 4 ounces.

Top 15 $1 million FLW Fantasy Fishing finalists

The top 15 finalists for the $1 million FLW Fantasy Fishing grand prize have been determined based on the total number of points accumulated over a seven-tournament season. None of the top 15 finalists will know, until Thursday, Aug. 21, when the $1 million winner will be unveiled, in what place they finished the entire season. The top 15 finalists, listed in alphabetical order, are:

1. Ms. Madge Austin, Elmhurst, Pa. (Scranton, Pa.)
2. Mr. Steve Braun, Hartland, Wis. (Milwaukee, Wis.)
3. Mr. James Brown, Lodi, Calif. (Stockton-Sacramento, Calif.)
4. Ms. Dixie Canterbury, Odenville, Ala. (Birmingham, Ala.)
5. Mr. Ron James, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
6. Mr. Gary McMullin, Overland Park, Kan. (Kansas City, Kan.)
7. Mr. Brent Meyer, Crawfordville, Fla. (Tallahassee, Fla.)
8. Mr. Jeffrey Nelson, New Brighton, Minn. (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)
9. Mr. Peyote Perryman, Raleigh, N.C.
10. Mr. Tim Potoczny, Gurnee, Ill. (Chicago)
11. Mr. Steve Reed, Davis, Calif. (Sacramento)
12. Mr. Ken Sessions, Pace, Fla. (Pensacola, Fla.)
13. Mr. Jim Stallard, Wilmington, N.C.
14. Mr. Michael Thompson, St. Michael, Minn. (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)
15. Mr. Carl Trussell, Orange, Tex. (Beaumont, Texas)

$100,000 seventh tournament winner

In addition to celebrating FLW Fantasy Fishing’s first $1 million winner, Donna Stalnaker, an insurance underwriter from Kent, Ohio, a suburb of Akron, Ohio, will receive $100,000 for coming in first place in the seventh tournament of the FLW Fantasy Fishing season. Stalnaker will travel to Columbia, S.C., to receive her $100,000 grand prize as part of the $1 million FLW Fantasy Fishing championship announcement.

“This is unbelievable,” said Stalnaker, a 45-year-old grandmother with three grandchildren who admits that she’s never caught a bass. “My friends aren’t going to believe this.”

Stalnaker entered the first FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament back in February at the urging of a girlfriend, but because of problems with her home computer, she didn’t enter another FLW Fantasy Fishing tournament until the seventh and final tournament in the seven-tournament season. “I got my computer fixed just in time for the last tournament.” Stalnaker added. “My friends won’t believe this.”

How FLW Fantasy Fishing works

FLW Fantasy Fishing is free to play and is open to adults, 18 and older, throughout the world, wherever it is legal to play. Participants log onto and register to enter the game.

Prior to each FLW Tour tournament, FLW Fantasy Fishing participants select a fantasy team of 10 FLW pro bass anglers. In 2008, participants earned points for each tournament, based on the performance (placement in the designated tournament) of their fantasy team pro anglers. Participants could win prizes for an individual tournament as well as accumulate points over seven designated tournaments to be eligible for a $1 million cash prize, which will be awarded to the participant with the highest overall points for the season. Seven $100,000 first-place prizes went to the participants who earn the most points for each tournament. A $5 million bonus was eligible to the first player to correctly rank the top seven finishers in a tournament. Participants could subscribe to Player’s Advantage to get the edge when selecting their team by accessing expert advice, inside information and cutting-edge statistical tools.

The 2008 Walmart FLW Tour consisted of seven tournaments, including:

• Lake Toho (Kissimmee, Fla.): Feb. 28 – March 2, 2008
• Lewis Smith Lake (Jasper, Ala.): April 3 – 6, 2008
• National Guard Open — Lake Norman (Charlotte, N.C.): April 24 – 27, 2008
• Wal-Mart Open – Beaver Lake (Rogers, Ark.): May 15 – 18, 2008
• Fort Loudoun-Tellico Lakes (Knoxville, Tenn.): June 19 – 22, 2008
• Chevy Open – Detroit River (Detroit, Mich.): July 10 – 13, 2008
• Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray (Columbia, S.C.): Aug. 14 – 17, 2008

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone, the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win more than $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits.

Walmart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Walmart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Walmart, visit For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse or call (270) 252-1000.