Christopher and Matt Haywood beat the second-place team in the Ryan Newman Foundation Bass Tournament by more than a half pound and won the grand prize, Ryan Newman's Ranger bass boat and trailer.
The Ranger Z-520 with a 250 Evinrude E-TEC motor, totally rigged electronics and a Ranger trailer is like new."I think I only was out two times in this boat," Newman said.
Their five-fish limit weighed 17 pounds, 3 ounces, a great weight for a bag of Lake Norman bass.
"Every fish we caught hit a crankbait," Matt said.
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"Matt is the best fisherman I have ever seen," Christopher said. The brothers took fourth place last year.
Christopher works for the Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation and Matt is an electrician.
Second-place finishers Jody Wright and Lester Elton's five-bass limit weighed 16 pounds, 10 ounces. The third-place team was Ron Wolfarth and Larry Inman with 15 pounds, 14 ounces.
Temperatures were in the low 20s as 276 anglers in 138 boats tried to get five bass in their live wells by midafternoon on Dec. 12. The day warmed to the low 40s by weigh-in time.
Sixty-three teams weighed in 261 bass. In all, 536 pounds were weighed and released. Teams came from six states and as far away as New Jersey.
It was a tough day of fishing. Crankbaits and jigs were the best baits, according to the anglers. Most would not reveal the exact make, model and color of their best lures.
The tournament is presented by Ranger Boats and directed by FLW/Walmart.
"Lake Norman is a great lake to hold events," said tournament director and emcee Ron Lappin of Calvert City, Ky. "The FLW holds several tournaments here every year. The lake is full of fish, and they seem to get bigger every year."
The NASCAR celebrities that tried their best for bragging rights were Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Tony Gibson, Newman's crew chief.
When Stewart was asked about his catch, he laughed and said, "I only got two. I'm a driver, not a fisherman."
Pro angler Jeff Coble was teamed with Gibson. David Fritts of Lexington fished with Stewart, and Koby Kreiger of Oceola, Ind., fished with Bowyer.
Several professional bass anglers also tried their luck but were bested by the local brothers. Jason Quinn and Todd Auten, local favorites from Lake Wylie, placed 13th and 32nd, respectively, and Dave Wolak of Raleigh placed 34th.
Fred Gill, a member of the "MuzikMafia" and a well-known Nashville icon, was joined by a Nashville star, Root 49 Music recording artist Bridgette Tatum, rounding out the celebrity list. Last year, Tatum paired up with Michelle Armstrong, a Denver pro angler.
Bowyer won the Celebrity Class with four bass.
Friday night, Dec. 11, the Newmans hosted the fifth annual Ryan Newman Foundation Gala Dinner and Auction at the Newman farm. Silent and live auctions were held. Lots of NASCAR memorabilia, works of art and other items were sold. Tatum took the stage and belted out several songs. About 500 guests enjoyed the buffet, open bar and entertainment.
The foundation raised $155,000 last year.
"We did not have a set goal but the dinner was sold out, and we had 15 more boats registered this year," Krissie Newman said. "I am confident that we will surpass last year's total. We have already started planning for next year."
Ryan and Krissie Newman established the Ryan Newman Foundation in January 2005.
The mission of the foundation is to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters; to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation so the beauty of the great outdoors can be appreciated by future generations; and to provide college scholarship funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program to students interested in auto-racing careers.