Richardson wins Best Angler ESPY

Best Angler Tammy Richardson (right) on the red carpet at the 2006 ESPYs. 

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Tammy Richardson, winner of the season-opening Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats event, brought home another coveted title on Wednesday night — the ESPY for Best Angler.

Richardson was at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre for The 2006 ESPYS Co-presented by GMC and Under Armour. This is the first time an ESPY has been awarded in the Best Angler category, formerly Best Outdoors. The 14th annual industry-wide sports celebration hosted by Lance Armstrong will be televised on ESPN Sunday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

ESPY winners were determined by fans voting online for the third-straight year and a record 12.1 million votes were tabulated. The last active BASS angler to win the award was Elite angler Kevin VanDam of Michigan in 2002.

It was just last year that Richardson and her husband Bobby saw their house burn to the ground due to an electrical problem. However, 2006 has been a comeback year for Richardson and her family.

"It has been such a great year," said Richardson. "This experience has been so awesome and I don't think I will ever get an opportunity like this again in my life."

After her season-opening WBT win on Lake Neely Henry in April at Gadsden, Ala., Richardson finished in a respectable 11th at the second WBT event of the season on Lake Lewisville in Texas — placing Richardson in second place on the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

The top 12 in those standings will qualify for the 2007 Women's Bassmaster Tour Championship in Alabama on Lake Mitchell, Feb. 22-25.

Richardson — who works part-time as a nurse — faced stiff competition in the category whose nominees also included CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series pros Preston Clark of Florida, Greg Hackney of Louisiana and Ish Monroe of California.

Richardson will participate in the next women's tour event at Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., on July 27-29.

"This means so much for all the women who fish competitively," Richardson said. "I'm honored to receive this on their behalf and I can't thank ESPN and BASS enough for advancing the sport to the level it is at now."

The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year's best sports stories by recognizing major achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances.