Kim Bain-Moore is Fast Approaching Her Biggest Challenge Yet, the 2009 Bassmaster Classic

Kim Bain-Moore, 2008 the Toyota Tundra Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year and 2009 Bassmaster Classic contender 

Professional angler Kim Bain-Moore of Alabaster, Ala., hasn't slowed down since Oct. 25, the day she qualified for the Bassmaster Classic and became the first woman to do so in the prestigious tournament's 38-year history.

"Nonstop" was the word the 28-year-old Australian native used in a recent Bassmaster.com blog to describe her life since she won the Toyota Tundra Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year competition, her route to the Feb. 20-22 Classic out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., on the Red River.

With so much going on in her life now, is Bain-Moore in danger of hitting the river running on empty?

No way.

"I think I function on the excitement," she said Monday. "I just jump from one thing to the next, and I'm always excited to go to the next thing, and that keeps me pumped."

She said she was on her way to Connecticut for a taping at ESPN headquarters.

"They've invited me to be involved in a special about women who have achieved important milestones in sports, and they think that my story and the Bassmaster Classic is an interesting angle," she said. "I'm really excited to be a part of it."

She was also excited about her win the day before in a pro-level kingfish tournament out of Key West. Bain-Moore teamed with three other anglers, including her husband, Andre Moore, to take the top overall prize, and Bain-Moore scored first place in the women's division.

"We've been fishing (kingfish events) for a while, and to come through with the win was pretty special," she said.

As much as that win meant to her, she said the Classic, now less than a month away, still counts as the biggest competition of her life.

One reason, of course, has to be the first-place prize of $500,000; no one forgets what winning it could mean. But the reasons Bain-Moore cited had more to do with the energy of the Classic.

"It's an event I've been to as a spectator, and I've always been amazed at the crowd participation, the huge numbers it draws, and how exciting it is when the anglers drive in and their song plays. I've dreamed about being in the Classic my whole life, and now it's really happening."

She'll be competing against the biggest names in pro fishing for a crown known to lead to lucrative sponsorship deals and a flurry of speaking engagements and public appearances. Not to mention instant fame.

The fame, Bain-Moore already has. It began to build in early 2008, her rookie year on the Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors, when she pulled off an upset win in the season opener. She kept up the pace, never finishing lower than sixth place in the tour's other events. She wrapped up 2008 with a coup: same-day wins in the tour's championship and points race that qualified her for the 2009 Classic.

And then the media really sat up and noticed Bain-Moore. She appeared on ESPN's First Take, and the news of her Classic qualification was covered by SportsCenter and ESPNews. CBS Evening News with Katie Couric produced a segment on Bain-Moore for the Dec. 11 broadcast. Features on Bain-Moore have run in magazines and U.S. newspapers — USA Today and The Palm Beach Post, to name just two — as well as in the Australian media. An Internet search for her name produces scores of hits.

She handles the publicity well. Poised, well-spoken and sincere, she comes across as exactly who she is: a serious competitor who loves the sport. She is appreciative of those who have helped her. She readily acknowledges her debt to the women who pioneered the sport, paving the way for her Classic qualification.

Admittedly, her hectic schedule has put prep time for the Bassmaster Classic on the Red River on the back burner.

"I haven't really done a lot in regards to getting my tackle ready," she said. "Of course it's been on my mind every day, and I've been thinking about it. Certainly, once I get back home to Alabama, which will be in about a week's time, I'll be doing nothing else but getting ready."

She has been working on sponsorships. She said her new Legend-Evinrude rig with a Reaction Innovations wrap is almost ready to roll. She also has cemented first-time deals with Plano and Pflueger, strong additions to her sponsors lineup, as well as previous seasons' supporters Hi-Seas/AFW, Minn Kota, Humminbird and PowerPole.

In a few weeks, Bain-Moore will be in Shreveport-Bossier City for official practice days, Feb. 13-15. She said only after those three days on the water will she have an idea of how she'll attack the Red River fishery.

"I really just want to go out the first day of the tournament, put my head down and try to make good decisions," she said. "Whatever (weight) I catch will be what I catch, and I'll certainly be proud of it, whatever it is."

The public is invited to daily launches presented by the Red River Waterway Commission at 7:15 a.m. CT, Feb. 20-22, at the Red River South Marina, Highway 71 South in Bossier City. Also free and open to the public, the daily weigh-ins will be at the CenturyTel Center, 2000 CenturyTel Center Drive, Bossier City. Doors will open each day at 3:30 p.m.