Friday, February 13, 2009 Updated: February 14, 11:06 AM ET
Classic Countdown: 7
By Ken Duke BASS member since 1976
Seven is a lucky number. It's also the number of today's Countdown story and a number that factors very prominently in Bassmaster Classic history and in this year's Classic.
There are seven former Classic champions in this year's field: Rick Clunn (1976, 1977, 1984 and 1990), Mark Davis (1995), Davy Hite (1999), Kevin VanDam (2001 and 2005), Michael Iaconelli (2003), Boyd Duckett (2007) and Alton Jones (2008).
That group includes the winners of all three previous Louisiana Classics. Hite, VanDam (in 2001) and Iaconelli won the three championships fished on the Louisiana Delta.
There have been exactly seven wire-to-wire winners in Bassmaster Classic history. That's seven times in the tournament's 38 year history that an angler jumped out to a first round lead and did not let go. Here are the men who have gone wire-to-wire: Rick Clunn (twice 1977 and 1984), Hank Parker (1979), Bo Dowden (1980), Stanley Mitchell (1981), Jay Yelas (2002) and Luke Clausen (2006).
No one has ever gone wire-to-wire in any of the previous Louisiana Classics.
BASS Insiders Check out BASS Insider exclusive footage from the 2002 Classic.
And you won't have to guess how many anglers have qualified for the Classic in each of its four decades. The number is, of course, seven.
Who are they? Why just some of the biggest names in the history of the sport: Harold Allen, Rick Clunn, Gary Klein, Roland Martin, Tommy Martin, Larry Nixon and Woo Daves. Four of them (Clunn, Tommy Martin, Nixon and Daves) even managed to win a Classic along the way.
Looking for more sevens? How about this: seven previous Classic champs were born under the sign of the bull Taurus and that's more than any other Zodiac sign.
Who are the Tauruses who have won? Stanley Mitchell, Paul Elias, George Cochran (who counts twice because he won in 1987 and 1996), Davy Hite, Woo Daves and Boyd Duckett.
And who are the Tauruses in the 2009 field? Well, there are only five of them (not seven, like I had hoped). They are Bryan Schmidt, Ken Baumgardner, Shaw Grigsby and former Classic champs Davy Hite and Boyd Duckett.
And could seven be a charm? Only one angler won the Classic in his seventh try: Larry Nixon back in 1983. This year five anglers are fishing their seventh Classic: Todd Faircloth, Greg Hackney, Kelly Jordon, Dean Rojas and Scott Rook.
Tomorrow we review the number six. That means Federation Nation qualifiers, champions who also bombed, the average number of Classics the current field has fished and what happened six Classics past.
For the full countdown to the 39th Bassmaster Classic, click here.