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Brother, Sister among 10 Youths Qualifying
for National Casting Championship
Kansan Chris Smreker places fourth in 11-14 age group

SHREVEPORT, La.-April 20, 2002-Rex and Vanessa Rodanas are siblings with a common cause. Both are among 10 youths between the ages of 7 and 14 who have qualified for the BASSMASTER CastingKids National Championship presented by CITGO and Chevy Trucks.

The national semifinal round of the unique contest was held today in Shreveport with 94 youths competing from 46 states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The five high scorers from each of the two age divisions (7-10 and 11-14) have advanced to the finals set for July in Birmingham, Ala. The finalists will compete for $20,000 in college scholarships to be awarded in the contest held by B.A.S.S., the world's largest fishing organization.

Finalists in the 7-10 age division are Vanessa Rodanas, Bedford, N.H.; Joshua Erickson, Maplewood, Minn.; Benjamin Tawney, Parkton, N.C.; Jeffrey Reeder, Kennewick, Wash.; and Sara Paxton, Smackover, Ark.

Finalists in the 11-14 age division are Rex Rodanas, Bedford, N.H.; Kody McCollum, Winner, S.D.; C.J. Shirey, Talladega, Ala.; Gregory Gutierrez Jr., Red Bluff, Calif.; and Chris Smreker, Osawatomie, Kan.

Of the finalists, Shirey is a past CastingKids national champion and Rex Rodanas a former finalist.

"It's really cool to be the first brother and sister to compete together in the finals," said Rex Rodanas. "We get another family vacation together and I hope that one of us wins."

"This is phenomenal," added Donna Rodanas, mother of the duo. "Each one is different. Rex is very focused and directive in his goals and Vanessa is loose and looks at the big picture. So it's amazing they can come together and hit the same mark."

All things considered, she is correct. Vanessa, 10, won a $20,000 college scholarship in a contest for stacking the most Oreo Cookies. She was to leave from the casting contest today for a fencing competition. On the flip side, brother Rex, 12, also fences and has taken up hunting with his father.

In the CastingKids competition, each contestant flips a hookless lure to a target 10 feet away, pitches the bait from 20 feet away, and flips the lure to the target from 30 feet away. Each try is worth points that can add up to a perfect score of 150. Former finalist McCollum was the only contestant in the semifinals to score 150 points.

By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its B.A.S.S. Federation, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship after more than three decades.

Sponsors of BASSMASTER CastingKids are: CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Chevrolet, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Eagle Claw, Exide Technologies-Stowaway Batteries, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA Bank, Flowmaster, GMAC Insurance, W.L. Gore and Associates, Inc., Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, Lowrance, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide/Quantum, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha.

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