Ft. Worth, TX - As competition heats up at the Vans Wakeboarding Pro, the first stop in the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding Series in 2003, it is tough to pick a clear front runner from the qualifying that took place on Saturday at Marine Creek in Ft. Worth.
The Pro Men's Quarterfinals and Pro Women's Semifinals were the marquee events of the day with $50,000 on the line not to mention the season bonuses on a 2003 Ford Ranger and SeaDoo personal watercraft Vans Triple Crown edition.
The battle for top honors on Sunday should be heated with so many top riders earning a birth in the next round. Shawn Watson looks like the favorite after winning the first event of the season, the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, in Orlando two weeks. Watson also won in Ft. Worth last season in the Built Ford Tough WWA Wakeboard National Championship.
Watson won his Men's Quarterfinal Heat on Saturday to advance into Sunday's Semifinals. There he'll be challenged by riders such as 2001 Mountain Dew WWA Wakeboard National Champion and Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding Champion Parks Bonifay who also won his heat on Saturday.
Defending Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding and Vans Wakeboarding Pro Champion Darin Shapiro also took top honors in his heat for the day.
In the Pro Women's Semifinals defending Vans Wakeboarding Pro Champion Melissa Marquardt took first place in her heat while 2001 Vans Triple Crown champion Emily Copeland won the other heat.
In the SeaDoo Pro Wakeskate Series Thomas Horrell and Brian Grubb took top honors in their heats.
The Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding* and the Vans Wakeboard Pro presented by Ford Trucks and Mountain Dew are made possible through the support of the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, Right Guard Xtreme, Fox Sports Net and NBC Sports. The Vans Triple Crown(tm) Series features the world's top athletes participating in premier venues throughout North America for the top prize purse in each of six Core Sports(tm) disciplines: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, BMX, Freestyle Motocross, Surfing and Snowboarding.
Pro Men Quarterfinals
(Top 3 each heat advance to Semifinals)
HEAT # 1
1 Parks Bonifay (FL) 97
2 Danny Harf (FL) 94
3 Brian Francis (AZ) 91
Zane Schwenk (FL) 87
Brian Sasser (TX) 86