Unfortunately no one won this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. So come on back next week and try again for the chance at winning a $25 e-couple good for anything on the GYCB website! For the answer, read below.
As we’ve discussed previously here on the Bass Fishing Archives, Vojai Reed, wife of 1986 Bassmaster Classic champion Charlie Reed, was the first woman to compete in a Bassmaster Tournament Trail event. She finished 37th in the 1991 Missouri Invitational and went on to compete in a total of seven B.A.S.S. events.
The Invitationals consisted of a pro-on-pro format, and existed concurrently with tour-level pro-ams. That leads to this week’s question:
Who was the first woman to compete as an amateur in a Bassmaster tour-level tournament?
Here’s the answer:
Conny Jenkins of Knob Noster, Missouri finished 80th out of 91 anglers in the amateur division of the Bassmaster BP Top 100 tournament on Bull Shoals in May of 1991.
The rural mail carrier and member of the Sedalia Bassmasters club went on to fish five more co-ed B.A.S.S. events: The 1992 Bassmaster 25th Anniversary tournament on Beaver Lake; the 1994 Texas Invitational on Lake Livingston; the 1995 Texas Invitational on Sam Rayburn; the 1995 Oklahoma Invitational on Grand Lake; and the 1995 Missouri Invitational on Lake of the Ozarks. Her best finish in those subsequent events was 105th in Missouri.
When the WBT was created approximately a decade later, Jenkins competed in the 2006 season, fishing five events and finishing a personal-best 27th in the season-opener on Alabama’s Neely Henry.
To date, no female angler has won the amateur side of a B.A.S.S. professional-level competition (other than, of course, in WBT events).
In 1998, Wanda Rucker of Cocoa, Florida became the first woman to win an FLW Outdoors bass tournament when she won the co-angler side of a BFL Gator Division tournament on Okeechobee with 16-04.
In 1999, Nobie Lebert of Brookeland, Texas became the first woman to win the amateur title in a Stren Series bass tournament when she claimed the trophy at Toledo Bend. Four years later she added a trophy by winning the co-angler side of a BFL on the same lake.
In 2004, Judy Israel of Clewiston, Florida became the first woman to win the amateur side of an FLW Tour event when she eked out a victory on the stingy Atchafalaya Basin. Two years earlier she’d won the co-angler title in a Northeast Division BFL on New York’s Thousand Islands. In 2009, she added another FLW Tour co-angler title when she won the amateur side at Guntersville.