CELEBRATION, Fla. For anglers experiencing a bout of cabin fever due to cold temperatures, the 2007 Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham, Ala., promises to provide a cure.
The three-day Expo will be held in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Feb. 23-25, and is an opportunity for anglers to get their first look at new or improved fishing equipment. The Expo will also feature a number of other consumer booths offering visitors interactive elements.
For fishing fans that travel to the Classic each year, the annual Outdoor Expo is always one of the highlights of Classic week. The giant product and activities festival attracts 34,000 to 50,000 visitors each year.
"The Expo will let fans get up-close and personal with professional anglers and the products they use," said Eric Lopez, BASS director of event operations. "They're going to be able to learn more about the anglers and get autographs.
"We're making available to the consumers the newest products that will later be in tackle stores and boat dealerships across the country. Fans will get a feel for what the Classic pros are actually doing how they're fishing. They watched them fish on ESPN2 and now they can learn more about what they're doing through the Expo."
While the 50 Classic contenders are out on Lay Lake competing for the $500,000 top prize and the most important title in competitive fishing, thousands of fishing fans will be scouring the aisles of the Expo in search of bargains and products that can enhance their angling experience.
Virtually all of the major lure manufacturers and rod-and-reel companies will be in attendance. And major boat, outboard and electronics companies will be displaying their latest technology.
With its nearly 210,000 square feet featuring more than 120 exhibitors, the Expo will provide plenty for everyone in the family to do and enjoy. There will be a CastingKids area and an interactive area for youth.
Exhibits from Toyota Tundra, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Purolator, Berkley, Advance Auto Parts, Lowrance and MotorGuide will be present at the Expo.
One of the most exciting interactive exhibits will be provided by Toyota, which will introduce fishing fans to the all-new 2007 Tundra Double Cab pickup (introduced at the recent North American International Auto Show).
Toyota will feature the Prove It tour which will allow participants to operate the new line of Tundras on an off-road course located blocks from the venue. Fishing fans can sign up in front of the convention center and drive the vehicle to the off-road course and experience the Tundra's full off-road capabilities.
Both the Expo and daily Bassmaster Classic weigh-ins will be held in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention-Complex, allowing attendees to easily move from one venue to the other. Admission is free for both.
And while fans are shopping at the Expo, they will be able to follow their favorite Classic pros through a live leaderboard that will keep them up to date on how well each contender is doing while out on-the-water.
Friday, Feb. 23 10 a.m. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24 10 a.m. 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 25 10 a.m. 7 p.m.