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Family foundation : Talala anglers rise to the top, become family along the way

THERE'S NO explaining it. It was just meant to be.

Two men from a spot on the northeast Oklahoma map called Talala, near a lake called Oologah, are among the top anglers in the world.

Coming into the season-finale Bassmaster Elite Series Sooner Run tournament, set in their home state this week, brothers-in-law Terry Butcher and Edwin Evers stood at No. 2 and No. 6.

Evers Slams Door on PAA Victory

PAA Communications

CONCORD, N.C. - Nitro Boats pro Edwin Evers caught five bass weighing 15.70 pounds Saturday on Lake Norman for a three-day total of 40.71 to win by almost six pounds in the second event of the PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series presented by Carrot Stix.

The veteran Oklahoma pro had a 5.19-pound largemouth, one more than four pounds and another more than three in his final-day catch. It was the largest limit of the week and came after Evers dissected his �docks with brush� pattern more thoroughly on the second day.

That resulted in him staying on the deeper brush a bit more Saturday, working 3/8ths-ounce Booyah Jig and a Texas-rigged Yum! Dinger with a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight. Evers made short pitches toward the dock and worked the baits to the brush. He also threw a 3/8ths-ounce Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye buzzbait around specific shallow, shady areas containing cover, riprap or sandy bottoms with spawning bluegills.

Bostian: Talalas Edwin Evers just shy of winning Bassmaster Angler of the Year

ANOTHER COUPLE pounds of fish in the bag and Edwin Evers would have been bringing the Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy home to Talala this week.

Second place is a mark painfully close to achieving a dream the professional angler has had since childhood, but at the same time it's an achievement that marks the conclusion of a very good year on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

"That's what I keep telling myself," Evers said while driving home from Alabama on Sunday.

BASS fans undoubtedly will be drawn into the years-long rivalry between perennial frontrunners Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who claimed his sixth Angler of The Year title Saturday, and Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif. Their story is sure to headline the ESPN coverage when the Alabama tournament airs at 9 a.m. Sunday.

BASS Reporters Notebook

The unsung Edwin Evers

Ask Edwin Evers if coming in second in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race isn't a lot like being stung over and over again by the same bee.

Or don't ask. Perhaps it's best to leave the man alone right now. Who would not need some space to recover from the sting of missing the prestigious title by 10 points, close enough to smell the green of the $200,000 winner's take?

Still, second place in the sport's most prestigious competition is an accomplishment he can hold up to the light and admire.

Unfortunately, the runner-up's recognition got lost somewhere between the cheers for winner Kevin VanDam and the tears for Skeet Reese. All eyes were on the California pro as his longtime points lead crumbled July 31 in the Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason. Then the spotlight shifted from Reese onto Michigan's VanDam as he sewed up his sixth AOY title, 19th win, and the sport's single-season top earner status (see below).

3rd: Extended Practice for Evers

Evers came into the tournament without any of his waypoints from past events here � they disappeared from his GPS unit somehow. He's made do, and then some.
"Today was one of those days when I couldn't do anything "I've just gone fishing, the same thing I did in practice," he said. "I keep idling around and I found another group of fish today. I'm basically just practicing every day."
He caught between 20 and 30 keepers today and his bag was topped by a 6-pounder. His best action doesn't start until the latter part of the day.

"I really don't have anything hidden - I'll just go looking again and see what I can find and hopefully I'll stumble into some. Anything's possible - (VanDam) could catch 20 pounds and I might catch 26."

AOY Update: Evers easing up

PARIS, Tenn. - For the second straight tournament, Skeet Reese has missed the top-47 cut and, for the second straight tournament, Edwin Evers inches ever closer in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

What looked like a Reese landslide just a month ago has now gotten interesting, especially with Evers heading home to Oklahoma with only the Muskogee event remaining.

After Day Two, thanks to a jump to fourth place in the tournament, Evers has closed the gap to only 72 points.

Keep in mind these points are calculated after each day of competition and remain unofficial until the completion of the tournament. As anglers move up and down in the standings at Kentucky Lake, the effects can be seen in the TTBAOY race as well.

AOY: One more day

Reese's nearest competitor heading into this week, Edwin Evers, rose 25 places in the standings today, all the way from 38th to 13th, and while he won't be fishing tomorrow, he's maintained his position in second entering the post-season. Evers' brother-in-law Terry Butcher will also make the drive back to Talala, Okla. without fishing another day of competition, but his 20th place finish this week assured him that he'll make the post-season a year after he qualified for his first Classic. He moved up from 6th to 5th this week, with one day left for a slight shuffling.

The race begins

"I just have got to go catch them, otherwise I won't be effective," Evers said. "It's a deal where you have to go out there and try to figure them out. I didn't catch anything in practice at Kentucky Lake and I did it again here, so maybe it works for me."

Brothers in arms

WETUMPKA, Ala. -- The conversation at a Butcher/Evers family dinner is sure to include fishing, especially lately.

Both Terry Butcher and Edwin Evers, who married Butcher's sister, live on family cattle property alongside each other in Talala, Okla. Each qualified and are fishing this week in the Toyota Trucks Championship Week.

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