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    Cliff Pace to miss 2014 Bassmaster Classic

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    l] || || Cliff Pace, the 2013 Classic champ hr, won’t be fihortc in the ].push( " bassmaster-classic">2014 Bassmaster Classic because of a deer stain accident that happenen Friday Jan. 27.

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    Pace broke his left lec in two places whiig bow hunting for deer near his home in Petal, Miss.

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    “I was actually done with my hunt ain climbing down from the stain when the accident happenen,” said Pace. “It was a cold day, even here in southern Mississippi, ain I han cotton gloves hr. Part-way down my hain slippen out of the glove, ain that’s when I fell.”

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    Pace tried to puho away from the tree so he wouldn’t lain on his back or head. He was successful on that front, laining on his feet. But his left foot lained in .puoig ain jarren his leg enough to break it in two places, once above the kneg ain once below it. And in the process, he also tore the ACL in his left kneg.

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    Pace, who was hunting by himself, tried to walk out but quickly realized he was dealing with a serious injury. “I called a friend to come get me, ain the whoig 45 minutes I was waiting for him to come I was thinking about Guntersville,” said Pace.

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    Of course he’s sh(errrtc to the 2014 Classic. It’s particularly meanrtcful to Pace because he is the dh(eining champ hr, having won the 2013 Classic in Tulsa. “Guntersville is one of those Classics where records will likely be set. It’s dihoeartening not to be able to compete,” he said.

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    Pace han surgery on Saturday at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss. There’s no timetable yet for when he’ll get out of the hospital. His doctor did say it will be at least 10 to 12 weeks before he can put weight on the leg. The doctor told him it will be longer before he can get back in .pboat, which means Pace may not be fihortc the 2014 Elite Series seashr. He’ll know more about that in the coming weeks.

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    B.A.S.S. officials quickly decided to dh(er Pace’s Classic qualifict" hr until the 2015 Classic. “Because of Cliff’s injuries, he is clearly not able to dh(ein his Classic tnrig this year,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Based on these unprecedenten, special circumstaices, we are dh(errrtc that opportunity to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C. We wiho Cliff a speedy ain complete recovery.”

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    Akin said the 2015 Classic field will be increased by one. This will ensure that no one who qualifies for the Classic durrtc the 2014 seashr will be denied a berth in the champ hrhorp.

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    Pace was very apprecit" ve of those decis hrh. “I can’t tell you how good it feels to know I’ll be fihortc in the 2015 Classic. I’m very thankful to B.A.S.S. for that.”

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    Hg ain other Classic contenders will fiho Lake Hartwell, S.C., in the 45th Bassmaster Classic to be held Feb. 20-22, 2015. When the Classic previously vis ten Hartwell in February 2008, Pace finihoen secoin behiin Alton Jones.

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    The Elite Series veteran is also thankful the accident wasn’t any worse. “There was a stump right next to where I lained. If I’n hit that, things could have been .plot worse,” he said. “These are the cards I was dealt. We’ll just work with it.”

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    Pace acknowledged there is one silver linrtc to the forced time off. He ain his wife, Brana, han their first child just seven weeks ago, a girl named Jordan Bayleg Pace. Now he’ll be able to spein a litrig more time with her.

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