FISHING WORLD – Crowned the Cabela’s MWC Team of the Year

Knippenberg, Buddie Win Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit Team of the Year Title

by MWC Staff

(Sep. 28, 2010 – Minnetonka, MN)… Ohioans Mike Knippenberg, of Hiram, and Ryan Buddie, of Lakewood, were crowned the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s 2010 Team of the Year.

The team’s coveted place atop the MWC ranks was cemented at the final qualifying tournament of the season in Webster, South Dakota, Sept 18-19. Though they didn’t fish the event, they held a virtually insurmountable lead as teams squared off on Waubay Lake. When the dust settled and the numbers were tallied, Knippenberg and Buddie held the title by finishing the season with 35.93 points in the Challenge program, in which teams fish an entire division plus an additional “challenge” tournament outside their division. The pair earned a pair of 14 k gold rings, a check for $13,000 and berth in next season’s no-entry-fee, $100,000 World Walleye Championship.

“This is awesome,” said Knippenberg. “I’m on cloud nine that we fished against the best in the business and took home Team of the Year.” Buddie was likewise elated. “To come out our first year and compete against the world’s best walleye sticks is beyond our wildest dreams,” he said. Both MWCers credited long hours of prefishing and research to helping to take home one of the highest awards in walleye fishing.

The Team of the Year win capped an impressive season that included second place at Sandusky, Ohio, third place at Saginaw Bay, Michigan, 11th at Bays de Noc, Michigan, and 18th place at the Detroit River out of Trenton, Michigan. As a testament to their success, they cashed a check at every tournament they fished and rose through the ranks against 500 MWC teams fishing 10 regular season events.

Rounding out the top five MWC teams of 2010 are, in order: Dan Johnson of Fayetteville, Ohio, and Larry Rhoads of Oregonia, Ohio; Dennis Lantzy of Warren, Michigan, and Steve Vande Mark of Linwood, Michigan; Dan Zwick of Wrightstown, Wisconsin, and Tony Kobriger of Chilton, Wisconsin; and Steve and Dan Bodinger, both of Chilton, Wisconsin. Each team received a check for $1,750.

In Divisional Teams of the Year Races (with cash awards based on the number of unique teams fishing a division), Don Olson, of Andover, Minnesota, and Randy Carroll, of Oswego, Illinois, claimed $5,499 and top honors in the Central Division. Glenn and Carol Chenier, of Escanaba, Michigan, brought home the Central’s Husband and Wife Team of the Year title, while Mickey and Marty Stuefen, of Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were named Brothers Team of the Year.

East Division Team of the Year Honors went to Ohio teammates Dan Johnson, of Fayetteville, and Larry Rhodes, of Oregonia, who took home a $2,574 check for their efforts. Steve and Dan Bodinger of Chilton, Wisconsin, were named the Brothers Team of the Year; Husband and Wife Team of the Year honors went to Joe and Mary Whitten of Toledo, Ohio, while Gary and 13-year-old Nick Zart took the Father and Son Team of the Year title.

Travor Diegel and Paul Steffen, both of Pierre, South Dakota, were crowned the West Division Team of the Year, worth a $1,755. South Dakotans Jeremy and Douglas Riediger, of Lennox and Wakonda, respectively, brought home Western Father and Son Team of the Year honors.

Of the 120 teams dueling head-to-head in the Berkley Premier Team Bracket competition throughout the season, Joe Miller and Jim McDonald won the Central Division shootout, Terry Loll and Charlie Horen, both of Kawkawlin, Michigan, won the East Division, and Mike Oletzke of Watertown, South Dakota, and Rich Huebner of Correll, Minnesota, were the last team standing in the West. All three teams won a $500 Cabela’s Gift Card, a spot in the 2011 World Walleye Championship, and $3,500 Berkley sponsorship.

Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering their nineth season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors of the MWC include: Berkley, Ranger Boats, Mercury, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Fishouflage, Versus (Vs.) Television Network and North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: O2 Marine Technologies, 3-IN-ONE No Rust Shield, Abu Garcia, Fin-tech, Northland Fishing Tackle, Ryjus, Reflections, Sea Grant and Wildlife Forever.