Katy, TX Will a woman angler win the 2009 Bassmaster Classic? It can happen, thanks to a partnership between the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) and Academy Sports + Outdoors. BASS runs the Women's Bassmaster Tour (WBT) and Academy Sports + Outdoors is presenting sponsor of the WBT.
In addition, Academy fielded a team of 12 top WBT anglers to represent "Team Academy." Team Academy members include: Kathy Magers TX (Team Captain,), Robin Babb TX, (Co-Captain), Sammie Jo Denyes AL/FL, Sheri Glasgow OK, Susan Gregory MS, Jan Heavener AR, Debra Hengst TX, Jo Dee Lake AL, Tammy Richardson AR, Juanita Robinson TX, Judy Wong LA, and Pam Martin-Wells GA.
Sponsoring the Women's Bassmaster Tour plus a dozen Team Academy anglers further underscores the company's commitment to women in sports. The first WBT event of 2008 takes place April 10-12 on Lake Lewisville near Dallas. The Academy Sports and Outdoors store located in Lewisville will host the weigh in at the store. For more information, visit www.Academy.com.
BASS officials created the WBT pathway to the Classic as part of its commitment to grow the WBT and to grow its partnership with Academy. Academy and the Women's Bassmaster Tour teamed up to grow the sport of professional women's bass fishing. WBT anglers now have a direct qualifying route into bass fishing's premier event, the Bassmaster Classic.
Here's how it works. The WBT will hold four regular season tournaments in 2008 and a WBT Championship in the fall of 2008. The top WBT angler in the season-long points standings not only earns the title of Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year, but earns a berth into the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. To accommodate the WBT Angler of the Year, BASS will extend 51 invitations to the Classic.
"Next year promises to be a historic year, with the first female angler qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic," said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager of BASS. "The WBT continues to receive well-deserved attention, and we are excited about this opportunity for the circuit to grow."
With the sponsorship agreement, the final day weigh-ins of WBT events will be held at Academy store locations near the fishery. The Katy, Texas, based company is the exclusive sporting goods retailer of the Women's Bassmaster Tour.
"Academy Sports + Outdoors is pleased to sponsor the 2008 Women's Bassmaster Tour," said Jerry de Bin, Academy's Director of Outdoor Marketing. "With 105 stores in 11 Southern states and growing, Academy is ideally positioned to grow the Women's Bassmaster Tour. We are a Southern company and we do business where bass fishing is a way of life. Academy already supports female athletes in our core business. Sponsoring the WBT and Team Academy are just further proof."
Academy Sports + Outdoors is one of the nation's largest sporting goods retailers, operating 105 stores in 11 Southern states.