Evers completes come-from-behind win to claim Bassmaster Classic title

TULSA, Oklahoma – Strolling through the Talala, Oklahoma, home of Edwin and Tuesday Evers, you don't even have to be a fan of tournament bass fishing to understand that Edwin, a longtime Team Mercury pro, is obviously one of the best at what he does for a living.

But in a home festooned with flashy hardware from his many Elite Series, B.A.S.S. Open, and Top 150 wins – and an 18-year tournament-winnings bank account approaching $3 million – Evers' newest memento is undoubtedly the most precious: the 80-pound, pyramid-shaped monolith of bronze, burl and brushed aluminum that is the 2016 Bassmaster Classic champion's trophy.

Fishing a lake that he refers to as his home lake – Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma – against a field of the 54 best bass anglers in the world, Evers brought an astounding 29 pounds, 3 ounces to the scales at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Championship Sunday to steal the Classic crown from fellow Mercury pro Jason Christie, turning a 6-plus-pound final-day deficit into a 10-plus-pound victory.

"I've dreamed about this since I was a little kid, so to try to put it all into words is a little overwhelming for me," Evers said as he leaned against the trophy in the champion's press conference. "I've had a great career, but this trophy is the one thing that I've lacked. I don't know how else to put it, but I just feel complete."

A comeback for the ages
Evers' Championship Sunday performance will likely go down as the most impressive in the 46-year history of the Classic.

With water and weather conditions on Grand in a near-constant state of flux the first two days of the three-day tournament, Evers managed to work his way into the Top 5 despite a four-fish day on Day 1 and an equipment issue on Day 2 (more on this later). Still, with 31.4 pounds heading into the final day, Evers trailed Jason Christie – his travel partner and roommate during the Elite Series regular season – by more than 6 pounds, a seemingly insurmountable lead against an angler who has lived his whole life in nearby Park Hill and has won dozens of tournaments on Grand Lake.

Evers cranked up his 250 Mercury ProXS and zipped upriver from the Wolf Creek Park Launch on Sunday, headed for a spot on the Elk River he hadn't fished the first two days because of a high, hot sun and lack of wind. As the morning wore on and the wind picked up, it became clear that Evers had made the right move: by 11 a.m., he had erased Christie's 6-pound lead and had built a 10-pound cushion thanks to 24 pounds of Grand Lake largemouth in his live wells while Christie struggled to find biting fish.

"I knew that area had big ones, but I didn't know how many of them there were," Evers admitted. "I sure didn't think I'd catch 29 pounds. I caught a couple of 7-pounders there in practice, but I needed the wind to blow for that bite to work out. The first fish I caught in there on Sunday, I felt like it was all going to work out."

Evers leans on dependability, service crew
Evers wouldn't have been in position for a Sunday comeback without the reliability of his 250 ProXS (and the on-site Mercury service crew) on Saturday. Making the run back to the check-in point at the end of the day, Evers struck a log while on pad, severely damaging his propeller and causing a wicked vibration in his lower unit. Evers managed to continue motoring back to Wolf Creek in time to check in, and turned his boat over to Mercury's on-site service crew for emergency repairs.

"That lower unit held together for 30 miles at 60 miles per hour," Evers said. "The vibration from the damaged prop was just crazy – I was a nervous wreck, but I didn't have any other choice but to keep going. I wouldn't have had a chance to win the Classic without the durability of my 250 ProXS."

NOTES: Evers' final-day 29.3 pounds is the heaviest final-day limit in Classic history ... Team Mercury anglers claimed four of the top five spots in the Classic: Evers, Christie, 2015 Elite Series Angler of the Year Aaron Martens (third) and 2014 Classic Champion Randy Howell (fifth) … Evers has a short window to enjoy his Classic win – he kicks off the 2016 Elite Series March 17 at the St. John's River in Palatka, Florida.

About Mercury Marine

Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wis., Mercury Marine is the world's leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A $2 billion division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications, empowering boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury's industry-leading brand portfolio includes Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; MotorGuide trolling motors; Mercury propellers; Mercury inflatable boats; Mercury SmartCraft electronics; Attwood marine parts; Land 'N Sea marine parts distribution; and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at mercurymarine.com.

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