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Are tournaments fair to ams??


wild at heart

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I stumbled across some info today that concerns me. It concerns the am side of some tournament trail events and the way payouts are done. I first discovered it on the Big Red web page. In 2010 7 boats competed in the Pro Division and 47 on the am side. The Pro's entery fees totaled $3500 but their payouts totaled $6800. The am's entery fees totaled $11750 but their payouts were only $10780. So the Pro's got almost a 200% payout for their fees and the am got around 90%. So it looks to me like the Pro gets all the sponser money and some of the am money. With out the am's their wouldn't even be enough Pro's to have a tourny so how come they get all the advantage. What does this say, the am's are just there to benifit the Pro's. This is just wrong if you ask me. Are those sponsering the tournament only interested in benifiting the Pro's I don't think so. Now I realize that if they only offered the Pro's a chance at $3500 total they probably won't come, but should that hurt the am's side.

If you look at the numbers for Ludington its even worse. 37 Pro's had entry fees of $18500 and got a total payout of $20200. On the am side 87 boats had entry fees of $26100 but their payoff was only $19900. Over $6000 of the am fees went where??? Again it looks like the majority class of boats is providing for running the tournament cost to benifit the Pro's.

Is this the way they all are run? Is it because the Pro's run the tournaments and take care of their own. Doesn't seem right to me. If there's another side to this that I'm missing because of my am bias, please explain it to me.

Edited by wild at heart
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Welcome to the dark side Kevin I been saying this for years. Every time I point out how monetarily stupid it is to enter one all I get back is how much fun it is. Which is why the only major event I fish anymore is the Muskegon Shootout and this year we may do the 333 only. We missed the big Combo by a couple tenths of a pound I actually thought we won when they announced the weight. Simply put the AM's put on the show and the Pro's take home the dough. We Made the money in 09 and it barely covered our boat gas granted we were at the bottom of the payout but we out fished several Pro Boats on Sunday. Toss in all the other issues and you have just as good a chance of winning NASCAR in the wife's sedan. Add in the half dozen AM boats that probably should be in Pro cause they go from port to port to compete and it makes it even tougher for local guys with kids and jobs to stand a chance. It is one of the biggest reasons for Don and Me to run our own events based on fun friendly competition that while you will never get rich you won't go broke either.

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Wow, Wisconsin tournaments are nothing at all like this. Ams get back what they put in and pros get back theirs. That would piss me off too. Our tournaments are really fare and yet we don't have a great turnout. We have big fish payouts that sometimes pay more than the 1st place prize which is really cool to see a small boat take home a big check even if they don't fish much but get the biggest fish.

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Some of the sponsors pay with merchandise instead of cash. TT pays out some of the prizes with this merchandise instead of cash. I was at a pig roast at MiStinger a few years ago, and Fred McDonald was there. I asked him about AM/PRO payouts, and he told me that none of the money from the AM side went to the PRO payout. I did not ask if any of the AM money went towards the biggest brown, biggest lake trout, biggest steelhead, etc prizes. These can be won by either division, so technically.....it did not go to the PRO division payout.

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Mike is pretty much right I never meant to say AM money goes to the Pro class I don't know of that happening so can't say either way. What I meant was that perhaps the percentage of what other than prizes gets paid out of the entry fees is not equal. One reason is the Pro's pretty much always choose cash and lots of the Am's will be happy with prizes. The expenses of putting on the event have to come from somewhere depending on who insures the event it could easily run 1500 to 3000 for that alone. Add in tent rentals and setup tables chairs and stage equipment and you have some hefty bills to pay. It is easier to take say 50 bucks per entry to cover expenses which seem fair but still has the Am class footing most of the bill. The days of the entire Pro class out fishing the Am class are over and it may be time to go to one rule book and payout trim the top prize a bit and pay down the field further and let the money go to the best boat. Maybe leave the Pro entry fee higher than the Am to keep it fair. But really is some neat math that allows 20 pro boats to pay a extra 100 bucks and have a top prize that is double that of 80 Am boats.

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There are a lot of things in life that are just not fair. The way I look at this is you can vote with you participation, or lack there of. It's the same thing at the store, if ya don't like the price or quality, ya don't buy it. It's good to question payouts and rules, It keeps the honest people honest.:)

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Interesting conversation and observations guys. Consider this: the pro's always invariably pay more to register, with many less participants, usually $100-150 more per boat than the am's. But, there are always a lot more am's in any given tourney. Somehow, it should all work out in the end for fairness. That's why they usually incorporate the big fish prize, for anyone. Take Fred McDonald's trusted and long-lived experiences into the equation, he knows more about this and the way the system is set up than any of us ever will. He's been at these tourney rules and payouts for over 25 years now, maybe 30+. He's a darn good man and Capt. and if he ever thought the payout was not fair, he would have changed them long ago. Just my 2 cents.

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Really the bigger issue is lack of turnout most of the award programs were setup in the days of huge turnouts when most of the field was Pro boats and you had a AM class to give the little guys a place to fish. Also keep in mind the Pro side usually only pay the top 3 places where AM pays down the field further. But the issue is they feel the need to have a big grand prize to attract boats ans as the field dwindles to less boats it means more of them have to be donor boats to have the big prizes for the winners. So if you don't have big sponsors paying to have the event named after them and smaller fields where you going to get the big prize from? If the people I know keep their word and skip Ludington this season it will be a very small field of boats involved. There is a very good chance that the Dreamweaver event could be bigger than Ludington this year. If gas prices go up much all tournaments will see a drop this year cause the cost of big events is tough to swallow now add much to it and lots of us are going to pass. Right now I have zero plans of doing any major events this year and if we do it likely will be 333 only to keep the cost down.

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Very interesting converation. I'm curous, a couple people said it was different on the Wisconson side. Can you summarize how tournaments are run there, or perhaps give us a web site to look at? I think this is good healthly conversation. I think Jim is hitting the nail on the head with the number of pro boats dwindling. That just makes it seem odd with the payouts. But I will say that the am boats have a equal shot at the big fish which, as someone pointed out typically pays pretty well.

I fished small tournaments two years ago and big ones this past summer.

Was pretty happy with both, but I will say the payout on the big tournaments was nice.

I will also say this - BOTH pretty much equalled price to play. Now, I did not fishing first in a big tournament or get big fish, but we did pretty well (15th, 7th, 3rd).

Small tourney - $25 entry - $100 expenses (gas and food) - payout for first $125ish.

Big tourney - $400 entry fee, dock fees, gas for two days, food, etc etc - payout for first $3500ish.

So I guess all in all it's like gambling. Bet big potentially win, but the odds typically favor the house.

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Last year I had a small 16.5ft Lund and I was just happy to place in the top half of Milwaukee's Brew City. I got 12 tall boys of a beer and some bragging rights so in the end it was a wash. I have some concerns of how that tourney ended but I keep them to myself and next year I just hope to crush the fish....

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