Kristine Houtman (MWC) Chat 10/23/02

Chatman - Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm Walleye Central Welcome for Kristine Houtman of the MWC!!!!!
Driftr - Welcome Kristine Houtman !!!!!!!!!
Driftr - Clap, clap, clap!!!
Eyeman (IN) - Welcome! Welcome!!
Chatman - Clap, clap, clap, clap!!
Warren MN - HI!
Kristine Houtman - Thanks so much! It's great to be here with you tonight.
Slip_Bobber - Have you gotten a good rest yet?
Chatman - Fresh on the heels of the 2002 circuit, time to relax, or plan for 2003 full throttle? Kristine Houtman - Not quite enough rest yet. I was hoping to catch up on that a bit this weekend. I was supposed to go to Seattle tomorrow morning but that got rescheduled -- and I'm thrilled!
Chatman - Hiya Kaz!
Kristine Houtman - It's both, Chatman. We need a little down time to re-group. It's hard to go full tilt for weeks and weeks. But we are deep in the throws of planning for next year already.
Guest - Hiya Kazmaster!!
Kristine Houtman - Is this the MN Kaz? or the GA Kaz?
Kaz - Hey, from the south.
Kaz - It's GA Kaz!1
Eyeman (IN) - Kristine, how did you get started with the MWC?? 
Chatman - He's from the south Y'all.....
Slip_Bobber - Is this the real Kaz??
Kristine Houtman - :-) Glad to have you with us tonight, Kaz. Thanks for stopping in!
Kristine Houtman - How did I get started in the MWC...?
Kristine Houtman - Well, first of all, my role started with the MWC just a little over one year ago. 
Kristine Houtman - I've worked for North American Fishing Club (and our other 7 clubs) for 8 years now.
Kristine Houtman - Last fall we announced that North American had purchased the MWC. Since that time I run the events department, it fell to my shoulders to take on the circuit.
Kristine Houtman - I was pretty excited, however, to tap into the expertise of Kaz, who founded the circuit some 17-18 years ago. Kaz ran it for 16 years with his wife Beverly.
Chatman - How do you think your first year went? Was it tougher than you imagined, or as much fun as you made it feel like?
Kristine Houtman - My past experience with the fishing industry was also as exhibits manager with the American Sportfishing Association.
Kristine Houtman - I think the first year went very well. Kaz and Bev steered us away from any big mistakes... :-) and we had a lot of great participation from the anglers and our sponsors.
Kristine Houtman - I thought the TV shows was one of the best additions to the circuit. Did any of you see the shows on The Outdoor Channel?
Chatman - I had a blast covering the two I did, one of which I fished. (with the flu)
Eyeman (IN) - Any changes that you could share :-) ???
Kaz - It was cold and rainy, I had to buy long underwear.
Kristine Houtman - So many anglers have indicated how pleased they were that Bev and Kaz were back. They have brought a level of professionalism and integrity to the MWC that is so welcome from the anglers. And of course, they are great to work with!
Slip_Bobber - I, for one, could tell there was more work done this year behind the scenes.
Slip_Bobber - And it showed!!
Chatman - Hi Tim!! Congrats to you and your Pop on your great Championship finish!
Kristine Houtman - Well...we'd like to see all four of our tournaments fill up. We did fill the first two in 2002. We want that to happen for all four. I'll be exhibiting at some of the Walleye Expos to try to make that happen.
Tim Minnema - Thank you, hello to all!!
Kristine Houtman - Thanks, Slip Bobber. And hello Tim...
Kaz - Hi Tim from Kaz and Bev.
Slip_Bobber - Kaz, I hope the Pole joke was not too much...
Eyeman (IN) - Thanks Kristine.
Tim Minnema - Hello Kaz and Bev! 
Kaz - So many Pole jokes, so little time.
Kristine Houtman - The other change, if you will, is that we see growth for the MWC to the East. We don't want to try to make the MN, WI, etc., anglers drive further. Rather, we'd like to create a circuit close to home for all the tournament anglers in the PA, NY & OH area.
Kristine Houtman - So we're working on a circuit with a smaller entry fee, $300. And having a point system and championship all of their own.
Chatman - Hey Kaz, don't forget your Stashooo of Liberty Joke either......
Kristine Houtman - The new circuit will be Cabela's MWC-East.
Driftr - That would be nice as we in Pa really don't have many Walleye tourneys. Is there any more info you can give us now about the East division?
Driftr - Wisconsin is a long way for us!!
Chatman - That's great Kristine!!
Kristine Houtman - We're pretty excited about it, and so are our sponsors.
Eyeman (IN) - See ask and you find out! :-) 
Tim Minnema - Thanks again Kristine for all of the work this year and at the championship!
Kristine Houtman - We're talking about a no entry fee championship that you would earn your way into based on how you finished in the qualifying tournaments. The purse for the championship would exceed $30,000. Not sure of the final amount at this time, but at least $30,000. We'd also pay out for Team of the Year, Husband/Wife Team of the Year and Family Team of the Year.
Walleye one - That sounds good....
Chatman - Much closer to the structure of the MWC about 4 or 5 years ago?
Kristine Houtman - We will require that the anglers fish at least two of the three qualifying tournaments. Maybe even all three. Haven't firmed that part up yet. 
Kristine Houtman - And all of the sites are very close to one another.
Walleye one - Is the schedule "set in stone"?
Kristine Houtman - Yes, Ralph, a $300 entry fee is much more similar to the way MWC started. And it's a great way for us to start MWC-East.
Dan(oh) - Will there be an Eastern Division next year?
Kristine Houtman - No. The schedule we had started with has a few hiccups. First, Cabela's has not finalized their National Team Championship yet.
Kristine Houtman - Since the bus and the staff of Cabela's, Steve & Gaylene Simmons and Chuck Borcher, work our MWC events too, we need to coordinate those dates. So until they firm their Championship up, our June tournament is on shaky ground.
Walleye one - Are the locations going to stay the same and just change dates or are you looking at different locations? When do you expect to know?
Kristine Houtman - I think we're okay on locations, although Chautauqua is high on our list, too. So it's more a matter of adjusting dates.
Driftr - What locations have been thought of for the East Division?
Kristine Houtman - This is what we announced in Lake City in September. But keep in mind, it is still tentative.
Kristine Houtman - Apr 12 - 13 Cortland, OH on Mosquito Lake.
Driftr - Chautauqua is pretty close to me!
Kristine Houtman - June 7 - 8 Warren, PA on Kinzua Lake.
Kristine Houtman - July 26-27 Northeast, PA on Lake Erie.
Kristine Houtman - Championship Oct 3-5 at Pittsburgh, PA at Three Rivers.
Driftr - Wow, all close to me!!!
Eyeman (IN) - Well, there you go Jim!!
Chairman - Great championship site too!!!
Driftr - That is so cool!
Kristine Houtman - Better scare up a partner and half of $900 Driftr! :-)
Driftr - I live right in the center of it all! 
Chatman - The MWC "Driftr" Walleye Series???? LOL!
Kristine Houtman - I guess it's bringing the mountain to Driftr... :-)
Driftr - Ralph, I love it!!
Kristine Houtman - That's good.
Driftr - I fish Mosquito regularly.
Kristine Houtman - We hope there are many more anglers just like you, Driftr, that will be so excited to see a payout develop in your area.
Driftr - This is so cool!!
Dan(oh) - A home field advantage for Driftr??
Chatman - Have the locations and dates been announced for the 2003 MWC Circuit?
Chairman - A great step for east anglers, some pretty good ones have come from the east lately....
Kristine Houtman - The MWC qualifiers work by points. If you win the tournament you get 110 points, and 2nd place 109 and 3rd place 108, etc. The top, say, 40 teams from the 2003 East circuit will be invited to fish the championship with no entry fee.
Kristine Houtman - We are planning to require that you must fish at least two tournaments, maybe three. We really do want to build a circuit and not just appeal to the ones that do well at one location. (for example).
Chairman - I think that is a good move Kristine. Then it is a true Championship.
Walleye one - I think having to fish all three is a good idea.
Kristine Houtman - I noticed Cabela's press release that they are opening a Cabela's store in Eastern PA. That's good news too. Maybe we'll have a championship there one day, like we did last week at Cabela's in Prairie du Chien,WI.
copilot - Are there any good walleye lakes around Hamburg, PA
Kristine Houtman - We're going to want to get our MWC-East brochures out to as many walleye clubs in the east as possible. So if you would like me to send a few hundred for a mailing or meeting, please email me the details.
Slip_Bobber - Help me. I'm still waiting for the barge to lock through!!!
Driftr - Kristine, I heard from a reliable source that there is talk of a Cabelas in western Pa as well!
Slip_Bobber - LOL!!
Kristine Houtman - Well, a new store there would make things even more interesting, wouldn't it? 
Chairman - I heard something about that.
Kristine Houtman - Good one Slip Bobber! LOL!!!
Kristine Houtman - And we'd all still be waiting around to weigh your fish! LOL!!
Chatman - I feel your pain Mike! Bob Newton and I, and about 17 other teams got stung bad that way once.....
Driftr - My son in law is on a chair position in a local town planning on sending you my 2003 Marketing Proposal soon...
Kristine Houtman - Congratulations to Bob Bodin and Scott Mann of Red Wing on their World Walleye Champion status. They took home two GORGEOUS trophies and $25,000 in cash on Saturday night.
Slip_Bobber - I'll second that!!
Kristine Houtman - They have fished the MWC for ten years, and made the Championship almost all of those years. This was their first win. And boy, were they excited!! Rightfully so!
Kaz - Bob Bodin told me that the key was their fishing the very fast current with crank baits.
Kristine Houtman - Hi Bob! Welcome to our chat!! Bob Lauridsen and his partner Kim Spigarelli took home $9000 and 3rd place last weekend. Good job Bob!
Chatman - It must be great to ad World Walleye Champions to their list of accomplishments! I fished for eleven years and went to the Championship twice. Few have done what Bob and Scott have done!
Kristine Houtman - What did you think of the World Walleye Championship last week, Bob?
Kaz - Congrats Bob and Spig. They had only one fish the first day and wound up in third place by the end! Never give up!!
Eyeman (IN) - Congrats Bob!
Walleye one - What kind of boat count are you expecting in the east next year?
Slip_Bobber - I think that's "Big Fish" Bob!
Kristine Houtman - We don't expect the first year to be 200 boats like the Midwest. So 75 - 100 boats would be great. Maybe larger for the Kinzua tournament as that has historically been 120 or more boats.
Driftr - Kristine, you may just be surprised!!
Kristine Houtman - Bigger you mean?
Walleye one - I would think that would be great for the first year!
Eyeman (IN) - Got to run I hope to see some of you next week at Huron!! Driftr I'll most likely see you Sunday !!
Driftr - I fish the Western Reserve Walleye & we have had over 100 teams.
Kaz - We need you Easterners to get the word out about the new MWC East.
Bob Lauridsen - I have never used a chat site and hopefully will press the correct keys. Congratulations to Scott and Bob. They put 3 days of consistent weight on their boat which is what it takes to win a MWC contest. 
Kristine Houtman - I hope so. Plus, it should help that we're bringing a new circuit to you. Not bringing in other anglers from other parts of the country. But bringing your own circuit and championship purse for the OH, NY & PA anglers.
Walleye one - Driftr, will those guys go for the higher entries?
Kaz - Hey, Bob and your also takes a positive attitude.
Driftr - That I can't answer but there are some real serious people in our club.
Kristine Houtman - I know that Bob and Kim had boat trouble on the first day, and never really had any time on their spots. 
Bob Lauridsen - Kaz, I thought the Championship dinner was the best I have ever attended in that you gave everyone a chance to say something. 
Kristine Houtman - With all the $$ it takes to fish seriously, is $900 for a team ($450 each) too much? I hope not. It seems reasonable when 80+% of the entry fee is guaranteed in that tournament's purse.
Chatman - For a newbie here Bob, you're doing quite well.......
Kaz - That was the plan, and I'm happy that you all participated. It was a blast, wasn't it? A lot of positive comments about the circuit.
Driftr - That is not too much. 
Kristine Houtman - Thanks, Bob. I felt the camaraderie was so great at the banquet on Saturday night. Everyone was very congratulatory to Scott & Bob and excited about the MWC.
Walleye one - I don't think it is either. It's less then I thought it would be.
Chris G - Kristine, We had a lot of positive comments about the press releases sent out to our local papers on out participation in the championship. Will there be another one on the results or should we send one out?
Walleye one - For all three tournaments see 59 on Saturday, that's still warm enough for me w/enough clothes on...40's is almost tooo cold!
Kristine Houtman - We emailed the press releases yesterday to those with e-mail addresses. We mailed out the hard copy today. You could check with Kris to firm up that your paper is on our press list. But they mailed this morning.
Tim Minnema - Kristine what will 1st place be worth in 2003 at the Championship?
Kaz - With regard to the winning techniques at the Championship, Bodin and Mann did the opposite of most teams...they went to the fastest current with crank baits, not live bait to the bank.
Slip_Bobber - My favorite comment from a local was that "You guys are not like the bass guys that were here earlier.
Chris G - Will it be the general press release or are they individual on each of our performances? I hope that made sense? :)
Kristine Houtman - I anticipate the same as 2002. We really "over" funded it this year based on sponsorship revenue from last year. Just wanted to get it started on the right foot. I expect about $100,000 total, with $25,000 first place. 
Roger_Mayer - Is this just for pros?
Kristine Houtman - Well, the press release is generic for the whole tournament, but we did include a stat sheet with all and noted teams name/city/state? Were you thinking of something more?
Tim Minnema - Kristine, there are only 40 teams?
Kristine Houtman - Not exactly, there are 40 that make it from the cut. There are also the top five finishers in the Cabela's National Team Championship. 
Chris G - I just wasn't sure if we should send in something on our own performance since the first release was about our participation, I figured anyone reading it might want to know how we did. Though it wasn't very good. :) 
Kristine Houtman - We are thinking about adding five "wild card" spots, only pulled from teams that fished all four qualifying tournaments. That way more are motivated to keep fishing at the end of the season even if they look like they are out of the cut.
Tim Minnema - OH I see... thanks.
Slip_Bobber - That's a great idea!
Kristine Houtman - We're trying to strengthen the circuit and get as many teams as possible to fish all four. This way, 80% of the spots are filled based on MWC points. 
Tim Minnema - How many teams fished all four this year?
Kristine Houtman - About 80. 
stehle - Are you concerned with some high kill off rates associated with some tournaments? How are you trying to prevent this? 
Bob Lauridsen - Kristine, one way to get more teams to fish all four contests would be to try and let us know when and where the championship for 2003 will be in 2004.
Kristine Houtman - We have spring and fall tournaments next year to help with that (for our bigger tournaments). We'll have to see about the East and mortality rates.
Slip_Bobber - Kristine, any talk of fishing all 4 being required for the championship?
Kaz - Chris and Gina, I had a good time with you on stage, it makes my job a lot easier.
s baugnet - Kristine, great, just thought I'd jump in and say that you did a great job this year! I'm looking forward to fishing all the tourneys next year, or at least 3 of them.
Kristine Houtman - I went out on a limb that we'd put the Championship back at Prairie du Chien, even though we hadn't had a tourney there yet. It was so great to be tied to a Cabela's retail store. That created a lot of opportunities. 
Kristine Houtman - Most circuits don't announce their championship location that far out, do they?
Kristine Houtman - Thanks for your kind words, Steve. And thanks for participating in our Angler Advisory Panel. 
Slip_Bobber - The locals at Prairie du Chien were great!
Chris G - Ditto on the locals!!!!!
Kristine Houtman - They were! Between the Falling Rock Walleye Club and all the Cabela's store employees, from both Prairie du Chien and Owatonna! They were awesome.
Kristine Houtman - They'll be in a lot better position next year as their club is really more tuned into what this is now. It's hard to envision if you've never hosted a tournament like that before! They'll get a lot more volunteers to offer help next year.
Bob Lauridsen - When you start a season they always announce when and where you would fish the championship. I think Prairie du Chien for 2003 is great. But I know a lot of anglers would like to know about what next year's tournaments would qualify for.
Kristine Houtman - We can talk about that, in fact, Kaz and I did talk about keeping it to just pool 10. it's a hard call though, as we know boundaries are a big issue. Especially when folks are looking for BIG FISH. Right Bob?
Chris G - Kristine, I will send you an article on how NASCAR gives bonuses to teams who race all the races in a year and it increases as the participation continues year after year. The more years you participate in all events, the more bonus money you get for placing. Might be an idea.
Kristine Houtman - I'd like to see that, Chris.
Kristine Houtman - You're right Bob. We need to figure out the Championship site for 2004 so the anglers this year know the location.
Kristine Houtman - Congratulations to Tim Minnema and his father, Jim for taking the Family (Father/Son) Team of the year in 2002. Good job Tim. It sure was exciting winning at Bay de Noc in August, wasn't it?
s baugnet - The 2004 Championship? That's easy, Little Bay de Noc in October! Wow, wouldn't that be great?
Tim Minnema - Thanks - Yes it was! 
Kristine Houtman - Tim, tell us what it's like fishing the circuit with your Dad?
Bob Lauridsen - I would like to see at least 2 pools open again, possibly 3. Pool 11 also would be nice. The lock situation is workable as long as you plan ahead. The lockmasters were very helpful and kept the tournament field well appraised of the barge traffic.
Tim Minnema - Kristine, are your fingers getting sore?
Kristine Houtman - Three pools, Bob. I like how you think! Adds a certain mystique to it, don't you think?
Tim Minnema - We enjoy fishing the circuit together, I hope we do not run into any scheduling conflicts for next year though!
Tim Minnema - Otherwise we are planning to fish all 4 MWC events.
Kristine Houtman - Even if it does add some challenges, and we know managing the locks adds a certain amount of risk!
Jon Jordan - Kristine, All of the local clubs did a great job. Hats off. 
Kaz - Bob L, according to Art Lehrmann, pool 11 isn't that good anymore, but we'll consider it.
Tim Minnema - 3 pools would get my vote!
Andy Schmidt - There is no more risk in more pools than there is in hitting a log at 55 mph.
Jon Jordan - Tim M, Congrats and good to meet you at Lake City.
Kristine Houtman - Bob, I should add that I lean 100% on Kaz's advice on tournament matters such as this. He's done this a long time and I trust his judgment completely.
Chatman - As we wind down, are there any questions that were missed?
Kristine Houtman - Say, since Andy Schmidt is here, Andy, tell the group about your experience on day one...
Tim Minnema - Andy did the log move or you? LOL!!!
Andy Schmidt - Here's the summary of my story. 7 miles into pool 9 a log jumped out in front of us and tore off the lower unit, damaged the gear case, launched us into the air where we spun a 360 and landed on the keel!! {luckily} It was 21 miles back to the docks and we fished two hours for 4 fish! That's about it.
Kristine Houtman - I think it was a little more exciting that you made that sound, but can you imagine what that felt like! Man oh man.
Slip_Bobber - Before this chat is done, I want to thank Kristine for managing one of the best years the MWC has had.
Chatman - Kristine, can you run down the new eastern Schedule and the Circuit schedule again for 2003?
Slip_Bobber - I think that says a lot!
Bob Lauridsen - Kristine and Kaz, I had selfish reasons for wanting pool 11. One of my best friends lives on that pool!
Chris G - You got that right!!!!!!! Great job Kristine!!! Working overtime to get in next year!
Kristine Houtman - We are still discussing our dates, but here it is tentatively...
Kristine Houtman - March 29-30 Spring Valley, IL on the Illinois River.
Kristine Houtman - May 17-18 Ortonville, MN on Big Stone Lake.
Kristine Houtman - September 13-14 Escanaba/Gladstone, MI on both Bays de Noc.
Kristine Houtman - September 27-28 Lake City, MN on Lake Pepin. (The Mississippi River)
Chris G - Same to Kaz! It is an honor to fish and be on stage with a legend in the sport!
Tim Minnema - Thank you again Kristine, for putting a great year together, we enjoyed every event!
Kristine Houtman - The World Walleye Championship is October 16-18 at Prairie du Chien, WI. (The Mississippi River)
Kaz - Chris, back-to-back Husband and Wife team of the year titles, you two are becoming legends yourselves.
Kristine Houtman - That's right, we had our Father and Son team of the year logged on here tonight, AND our Husband and Wife team of the year on as well. Thank you all!
Kristine Houtman - Any other questions on the MWC as we wrap this up?
Driftr - Kristine, can you hold the Chautauqua tourney earlier than June if possible?
Kristine Houtman - We'll stay open to that, maybe won't be able to get it into 2003. But we're starting this for the long haul, so we can think 2004 and beyond, too.
Bob Lauridsen - I also want to thank Kristine and her staff as well as Kaz and Bev. We expend a lot of time and money to fish this circuit and you have all put together a circuit that we all can be proud of! 
Chatman - Ladies and Gentlemen a warm round of applause for Kristine Houtman of the MWC!
Walleye one - Kristine, thanks for the info on the East division. Looking forward to fishing it next year. Gotta run.
Kristine Houtman - Hey, thank YOU guys and gals for fishing it. Without your support this wouldn't be anything to be proud of. Thanks tons! 
Dan(oh) - Good night!
s baugnet - Well I've gotta run! See ya all on the MWC web site! Let's all use it more often!!!!!!!!!!
Kristine Houtman - Thanks for stopping in Kaz. Thanks for all our anglers jumping in and adding your comments. 'preciate it.
Driftr - Thanks Kristine !!!!!
Tim Minnema - BYE ALL!! 
Chatman - And Kaz and Bev!!
Driftr - Clap, clap, clap!!!
Dan(oh) - Thank you!
Walleye one - Thanks!
Chris G - Clap, clap, clap!!!
Chatman - Clap, clap, clap!!!!
Warren MN - Thanks from here!
Kristine Houtman - Thanks, Bob!
Slip_Bobber - CLAP!
Kaz - Nice chatting with you, we're going to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary a few hours early.
Chatman - I'd like to thank Kristine, Kaz and The MWC on behalf of Walleye Central for being such great sports and extremely helpful with us doing the Live Leaderboards all season!