Big Bucks Pro Hawgin’

Written by Sarah on April 22, 2011

“I’d fish for free.”

How many times have you heard your local BillyJoeJimBob tournament pro say that one? Then again, if you get good enough, you don’t have to fish for free. According to a table published by this week (See below), our good friend Kevin VanDam took home over 900,000 clams last year in tournament winnings alone. So the path to success is simple: (1) learn to fish as well as KVD; and (2) back the Brinks truck up to your house.

Seriously, though, I recognize that Kevin is kind of, um, an exception, but certainly other sports have their own “king of the pond” too. Take out the major sports like baseball (where Barry Bonds needed to make major bucks to buy new hats for his ever-growing cranium), basketball (where Mark Cuban is routinely fined the price of a new bass boat), football (where JaMarcus Russell spends a hundred grand a month on Twinkies), and golf (plaid pants ain’t cheap), and you’re left with the reality that our top performers are pretty high up in the rankings. For what it’s worth:

  • Kevin made almost twice as much last year as the top rodeo participant, and his chance of a bull’s horn to the gonads was substantially less
  • He also more than doubled the top sumo wrestler (Hakuho), who didn’t even get a last name for his efforts
  • Kevin crushed surfer Kelly Slater’s tournament winnings, although media reports have connected Slater to Pamela Anderson, Gisele Bundchen and Cameron Diaz….some things are better than money. I’m just sayin’.
  • Who knew that the top sled dog racer only takes home about $50,000 a year? That’ll buy you some kibble, but not the bits.
  • Beach volleyball doesn’t even get you to $400,000, and has the substantial risk of sand in your nooks and crannies.

Then again, the dudes playing beach volleyball probably get to hang out with some hot chicks in bikinis and KVD gets to hang out with….Zell Rowland and Tommy Biffle.

This blog is courtesy of Pete Robbins, Dave’s buddy and Facts of Fishing blogger

Sport Athlete League/Tour Money Type Money
Auto Racing Kimi Raikkonen World Rally Championship 2010 Race Winnings (plus $12.7M from severed F1 contract) $26,333,333
Baseball Alex Rodriguez MLB 2011 Salary $32,000,000
Basketball Kobe Bryant NBA 2010-11 Salary $24,800,000
Beach Volleyball (Men) Philip Dalhausser/Todd Rogers FIVB 2010 Prize Money $387,700
Beach Volleyball (Women) Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta Da Silva FIVB 2010 Prize Money $351,300
Billiards (Men) Darren Appleton N/A 2010 Prize Money $118,494
Billiards (Women) Ga-Young Kim N/A 2010 Prize Money $67,930
Bowling (Men) Walter Ray Williams Jr. PBA 2009-10 Prize Money $152,670
Bowling (Women) Shannon Pluhowsky PBA 2009-10 Prize Money $40,300
Boxing (N. American Purse Fights) Manny Pacquiao N/A 2010 Estimated Purse (two fights) $32,000,000
Bull Riding Renato Nunes Professional Bull Riders 2010 Prize Money $1,594,527
Darts Phil Taylor Professional Darts Corporation 2010 Prize Money $1,044,000
Distance Running (Men) Samuel Wanjiru Various 2010 Prize Money $617,000
Distance Running (Women) Liliya Shobukhova Various 2010 Prize Money $695,000
Drag Racing Larry Dixon NHRA Top Fuel 2010 Prize Money $1,371,000
Eating Joey Chestnut Major League Eating 2010 Earnings $218,500
Equestrian (Men) McLain Ward Show Jumping 2010 Earnings $1,280,788
Equestrian (Women) Laura Kraut Show Jumping 2010 Earnings $627,907
Fishing Kevin Vandam Bassmaster Elite Series 2010 Earnings $915,500
Football Peyton Manning NFL 2010 Salary $15,800,000
Golf (Men) Luke Donald European Tour PGA 2010 Tournament Winnings $5,867,601
Golf (Women) Na Yeon Choi LPGA 2010 Tournament Winnings $1,871,165
Hockey (Tie) Vincent Lecavalier NHL 2010-11 Salary $10,000,000
Roberto Luongo NHL 2010-11 Salary $10,000,000
Horse Racing (Jockey) Ramon A. Dominguez N/A 2010 Earnings (not individual share) $17,411,880
MMA Brock Lesnar UFC Estimated Prize Money, ppv share $5,300,000
Poker Jonathan Duhamel Various Land-Based Tournament Winnings, April 4, 2010- April 3, 2011 $9,443,519
Racquetball Kane Waselenchuk International Racquetball Tour IRT 2010 Event, Appearance Fees, Earnings, Sponsorships $300,000
Rodeo Trevor Brazile Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association 2010 Earnings $507,920
Skiing (Men) Ivica Kostelic FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events 2010-11 Prize Money $464,440
Skiing (Women) Lindsey Vonn FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events 2010-11 Prize Money $509,542
Sled Dog John Baker Iditarod 2011 First-Place Racing Prize Money $50,400
Soccer Cristiano Ronaldo La Liga 2010-11 Salary $19,500,000
Squash Nick Matthew Professional Squash Association 2010 Prize Money $166,926
Sumo Hakuho Japan Sumo Association 2010 Salary $400,000
Surfing (Men) Kelly Slater ASP World Tour 2010 Prize Money $516,000
Surfing (Women) Stephanie Gilmore ASP World Tour 2010 Prize Money $140,700
Tennis (Men) Rafael Nadal ATP 2010 Prize Money $10,171,998
Tennis (Women) Kim Clijsters WTA 2010 Prize Money $5,035,060
Triathlon (Men) Tim Don International Triathlon Union 2010 Prize Money $223,600
Triathlon (Women) Emma Snowsill International Triathlon Union 2010 Prize Money $239,800

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  • Nick D

    I think your missing a big part of the factor with Kevin Van Dam. Sure the guy can catch fish, but the real secret to his big earnings is that he has some cool initials. I mean just take a look at it ….KVD….It just looks cool everywhere you see it. Lures, packages, websites, blogs, you name it, it looks cool.