4. Mid-Atlantic $500,000
In the early 1990s, Dick Weber and Bob Glover decided the timing was right to launch a big-money tournament out of Cape May, New Jersey. The luxury tax had just been repealed, and the country was enjoying a solid economic foothold. The first Mid-Atlantic $500,000, with a guaranteed payout of $500,000, took place in 1992, just in time for a raging nor'easter.
"We had to push the whole event back a day," Glover says. "It was a monumental task to get everyone - the participants, caterers, entertainment and facilities - to postpone for a day, but we were determined to make it happen. Everyone cooperated and we ended up going off with our target of 125 boats, becoming the first legitimate million-dollar event."
Although Glover jokingly admits he's still exhausted from that first tournament, they've never looked back. The event grew so large that producers now allow boats to leave from Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland. And it's never given out less than $1 million in prizes.
? Est. 1992 with $1,013,000 in prize money
? Biggest cash purse to date: $1,998,150 in 2006
? 2008 Payout: $1,811,950 with 144 boats
? Largest number of boats: 179 in 2006
? Single-largest payout to angler or team: $803,415 paid to Steve Castellini and the crew of Uncle T in 2006
? 2009 Dates: August 16-21
? 2009 Entry fees: $6,000 base entry, $18,000 all in
? Location: Tournament headquarters are in Cape May, New Jersey, but boats can also leave from Ocean City, Maryland
? Contact: Bob Glover, 609-884-2400; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ma500.com.