- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2005

La PLATA, Md. — A Wal-Mart parking lot may not sound like a place to find Hollywood personalities and professional athletes, but that was the scene in Charles County yesterday afternoon.

With the FLW Tour, a national fishing event, at Smallwood State Park in Marbury for its final event of the season, Chris Rose and Tom Arnold, cast members on Fox Sports Net’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period” fished with some of the professionals before driving across Charles County to tape yesterday’s show in the parking lot of La Plata’s Wal-Mart.

“On paper, it doesn’t sound that fun — doing a show in a Wal-Mart parking lot,” Arnold said. “But it has been. Fishing is bigger than I thought. It’s a huge recreational sport, but it’s big professionally, too. It’s like a mini NASCAR. And you can get everything you want at Wal-Mart. They don’t have these in Beverly Hills.”

John Entz, executive producer of “Best Sports Show,” decided six weeks ago to bring his show to Maryland. Though the program’s main focus is major professional sports, Entz tries to incorporate less publicized sports periodically to widen the show’s viewership. Fox Sports Net also broadcasts the FLW Tour on Sundays.

Fans in the area for the Chevy Open came to the FLW Tour’s family fun zone to check out the show and filled the stands. Arnold, co-host of his first show since the Super Bowl, and Rose mingled with the crowd a bit before the show.

But the real highlight for Arnold and Rose came when they took to the Potomac River early yesterday morning to see how they stacked up against the professionals.

“I haven’t been fishing since I was 14 years old, and it showed,” Rose said. “I was in the boat with pros, and they were making fun of me. They have great personalities. It’s a riot.”

The Chevy Open ends today, with boats pushing off at 6:30 a.m. at Smallwood State Park and the final weigh-in at 3 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The purse is $1.25 million, with the winning professional receiving $200,000.

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