BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Noting that for a record ninth time the state of Alabama was hosting a CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic, Gov. Don Siegelman kicked off the 32nd annual Classic Week Monday at a press conference at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
"Alabama has hosted more Classics than any other state and there's a reason for that we've got great bass fishing," Siegelman said. "Alabama is the birthplace of (professional) bass fishing. And we've got the Alabama Bass Trail.
"We have made a determined effort in Alabama to help bring people into the outdoors, so to speak."
Siegelman created the Alabama Bass Trail in 2000 to enhance and highlight the state's abundant bass fishing opportunities. As a result, the state estimates that the economic impact of the Alabama Bass Trail and other tournaments has been about $106 million for a two-year period.
On Monday, Siegelman signed a proclamation designating July 22-27 as B.A.S.S. Week throughout the state.
"Alabama's natural resources and beauty are second to none, and the Classic is a wonderful opportunity to showcase to the world what Alabama has to offer," he said. "The establishment of the Alabama Bass Trail was the most practical way to enhance the economic impact of bass fishing, to draw national attention, and to improve our facilities and fisheries for Alabamians and out-of-state visitors."
The state projects the economic impact of the 2002 Classic to be $12 million.
The Classic, which awards the winner with $200,000 and immeasurable future riches, pits 52 of the world's best bass anglers in a three-day battle on Lay Lake Thursday through Saturday.
On Tuesday, the anglers enjoy their lone practice day before taking a day off on Wednesday and meeting the public in an autograph session at Oak Mountain State Park as part of the Kids Classic fishing derby.
The Classic is much more than just the crowning event of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail. Classic Week is the annual celebration of the sport of bass fishing that attracts B.A.S.S. members and other fishing fans from across the country, who come to meet their fishing heroes, attend the weigh-ins and participate in youth and other fan-friendly events.
The launch venue for the event will be Paradise Point Marina. The exciting CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic weigh-in show will take place in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. With the exception of the launch site, all of the venues for the event are located in close proximity.
ESPN and ESPN2 will offer same-day coverage of the Classic during the last three days of its Bass Week programs, which will air from 5-6 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2 July 22-24, 4-6 p.m. on ESPN2 July 25 and 26, and 7-11:30 a.m. on ESPN2 and 7-8 p.m. on ESPN July 27.
By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its B.A.S.S. Federation, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than three decades. B.A.S.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN.
Sponsors of the 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic include: CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Long John Silver's, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, and B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.
Associate Sponsors include Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats.
The 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic will be presented locally by the State of Alabama, City of Birmingham, Jefferson County and Shelby County.
For more information contact: the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic Media Center at (205) 458-8339.