NEW ORLEANS TO HOST CITGO
Fishing's biggest week returns to the
Big Easy July 28-Aug. 3, 2003
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Sept. 12, 2002 - B.A.S.S. officials joined with Louisiana Lt. Gov.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to announce that New Orleans will be
the host city for the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic presented by
Busch Beer, July 28 through Aug. 3.
"This is another excellent opportunity
to showcase the wonderful natural resources that our state has
to offer," said Lt. Gov. Blanco. "The previous two
Classics here in New Orleans have been very successful and we
are pleased to have B.A.S.S. back in Louisiana once again, particularly
during the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase."
This will mark the third time that the
Big Easy has hosted fishing's biggest week. New Orleans was the
site of the Classic in 1999 and 2001.
"We are extremely excited to be returning
to New Orleans," said Dean Kessel, general manager of B.A.S.S.
"The Louisiana Delta offers one of the nation's premier
fisheries, and the city of New Orleans definitely offers our
loyal members and fans plenty of opportunities for great food
and entertainment to make their visit most memorable."
In addition to the on-the-water action,
where 62 of the world's top anglers will be competing for the
$200,000 top prize, the city will also host the Classic Outdoor
Show. The Classic Outdoor Show, which will be held at the Ernest
P. Morial Convention Center, is one of the largest consumer shows
in the outdoor industry. It offers visitors one of the first
opportunities to purchase new products from various companies
in the fishing and marine industries, as well as other outdoor-related
Anglers will fish on the expansive Louisiana
Delta for the three days of competition, with the daily weigh-ins
taking place at the Louisiana Superdome. The waters will go off-limits
to any potential Classic qualifier on Jan. 1, 2003 and remain
off-limits until the official Classic practice period.
Excitement surrounding the event is extremely
high, as evidenced by the increased television ratings from the
recently concluded 2002 event in Birmingham, Ala. The audience
on ESPN and ESPN2 of the 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic was 32
percent larger than the coverage from 2001.
Competition days for the 33rd CITGO BASSMASTERS
Classic presented by Busch Beer will be August 1-3, which means
that for the first time ever, the storied tournament will end
on a Sunday.
"We believe crowning the champion
on Sunday will allow even more fans the opportunity to attend
the event and the Classic Outdoor show," added Kessel.
Davy Hite claimed victory in B.A.S.S.'
first trip to the Louisiana Delta, setting a Classic record for
the most bass weighed in with 55 pounds 10 ounces.
"I'm obviously excited the Classic
is returning to New Orleans," said Hite, who has already
qualified for next summer's Classic as a result of winning the
2002 Busch B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year award. "This is an
excellent fishery; I can't wait for the competition to start."
The CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic is the crowning
event of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail, with qualifiers
advancing from the CITGO BASSMASTER Tour presented by Busch Beer,
CITGO BASSMASTER Opens and the B.A.S.S. Federation. The Classic
offers a total payout of $700,000, with the winner claiming $200,000.
However, past champions have earned residual income in excess
of $1 million through endorsements and other opportunities.
By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments
worldwide through its 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 as it has since its creation in 1968. B.A.S.S.
is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN.
Sponsors of the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic
presented by Busch Beer include: CITGO Petroleum Corporation,
Busch Beer, 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
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