Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe, who won last year's All Star Week event, qualified again this year and therefore will get the opportunity to defend his title.
Twelve All Stars, two lakes, four days and a unique format that includes head-to-head elimination rounds. On Sunday one All Star champion will be crowned. The action begins in a little less than three hours.
The field of 12 includes the top eight finishers in the 2012 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year standings, plus four anglers chosen by fan voting, and it's definitely a star-studded cast and promises plenty of drama.
Top eight includes last year's All Star champ and the 2011 Rookie of the Year Ott DeFoe, so he has the opportunity to defend. Other pros who made the event by virtue of season standings were 2012 Angler of the Year Brent Chapman, Terry "Big Show" Scroggins, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Matt Herron, Kevin VanDam and Edwin Evers.
No surprises in the fan picks -- Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Skeet Reece and Aaron Martens. In fact, if you somehow could have removed the Top 8 from consideration and held the vote before the first tournament was even held this year and without any of the angler campaigning for votes, I suspect the results would have been exactly the same. Those guys have earned fan favor and respect over the years.
The split venue of Illinois' Lake Shelbyville for the semi-finals and Lake Decatur for the finals provides plenty of mystery for pros and fans alike. Although both are locally popular waterways that host a lot of tournament, neither has much of a name nationally nor has played host to such a marquis event. Tweets and facebook posts I've seen from the competitors suggest that it's fishing pretty tough. We'll know more soon!