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Archive for February, 2010

The 2012 Bassmaster Classic will return to Shreveport, La., following a successful event in 2009 that saw record-breaking crowds for the outdoors show and weigh-ins.

The Shreveport Times reported the story on its Web site and said it will be Feb. 24-26, 2012.

This line to me in the story is critical for any city that cannot fathom spending $500,000 to $1 million for “just” a bass tournament:

“The 2009 Classic had an estimated $27 million of economic impact on the community, according to LSU-Shreveport economists.”

If you were a city business leader and told your cohorts, “Hey, I know we can make $25 million or more if we just put up $1 million now to get this event,” then it would seem like they’d jump at the chance.

But they don’t. They wait. They argue. They bicker and point fingers and get into politics and petty crap.

Bravo for Shreveport.

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Note: This is most of my column from today’s Fishing Wire, which offers a free subscription to get industry news and opinion. Sign up today and don’t make me come hunt you down to do so.

If you don’t live in an area where college football is rabidly popular, I kind of feel sorry for you the way I do for people who never have owned a good dog or enjoyed a Co’Cola so cold it made your brain hurt.

“Rabidly” is relative, of course.

I suspect the Ivy Leaguers can’t fathom having giant RVs rolling into their staid and stately campus four days before the game, but no doubt enjoy their brie and chardonnay in a bit of upscale redneckery tailgating. Oregon’s Ducks have had quite a surge the last several years despite their occasional dog-ugly uniforms. When you’re born in Lincoln the doctor slaps your ass and a nurse sticks half a plastic corn cob on your lil’ Husker head. In Gainesville, you sign a letter of intent for the Gators and they give you a map to the police station.

In Alabama, you’re either for Alabama or Auburn. Sure, we have other schools here. Somewhere. I think. But when you’re born someone sends a bib ‘n bootie gift with the little beanie hat that has a crimson “A” or an orange-blue “AU.” If you move into the state, people ask what church you attend and which school you cheer for. Not necessarily in that order, of course.

I’ve always wondered what a sports-hating atheist could get away with in Tuscaloosa or Auburn on a football Saturday. I guess they could rob the banks by halftime and casually leave town. Of course, in Auburn they’ll have to dodge cow patties on the highway.

We’ll get a small taste of that rivalry in two weeks when the first Bassmaster College Classic will be held on Logan Martin Lake east of Birmingham. The tournament, on Feb. 20, will coincide with the 40th Bassmaster Classic set for Lay Lake. Weigh-ins for both events will be at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, with the college anglers bringing their catch to the Toyota Tundra booth in the outdoors show for a 2:30 p.m. weigh-in.

It should be quite fun. Not only will the three two-man teams of each university be battling for bragging rights, but the fans will be doing some woofing as well. Alabama just won its 8th (or 13th, depending on who is telling you) national championship. Auburn is riding the wave of a Top 5 recruiting class after a second tough season and first under a new coach.

The anglers won’t care about football, though. They will be fishing from 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the coming back from Logan Martin for the weigh-in. The winning team will be honored at the Classic weigh-in later in the day, and will earn a chance to defend the title at the 2011 Classic in New Orleans against a university team from the Pelican State.

If you’re there, drop by to cheer, cheer, cheer on the Tigs and Tide. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind hearing a little encouragement from the crowd.

Clarification

Last week we reported that two-time Bassmaster Classic champion Hank Parker would be on stage as an analyst during the upcoming Classic, which was incorrect.

We’ve been told Parker will be assisting with the “Cast for Cash” promotional event on stage where a fan has a shot at winning money with an accurate cast. Parker may stick around for an angler or two, I’m told, but is not part of the official stage team for the tournament.

Just a week away

It will be interesting to see how the FLW Tour anglers take on the Red River next week in the first tournament of the season.

The Classic was held there a year ago in Shreveport and it took more than 50 pounds in three days to win. The FLW crew will have four days, with the top five competing on Sunday. That should open up some water and maybe give someone an extra spot or two as a backup if they need it.

Locals expected good numbers last year but I think outsiders, including me, were surprised at the strong quality of bass in the Red. After five or six months of uncertainty with the Genmar bankruptcy and how it might affect the FLW Tour, the anglers no doubt are champing at the bit to get the season started.

I think this FLW season could shape up to be one of the best ever. The schedule hits several strong lakes, including Guntersville to wrap up the season in June, and offers some variety for different techniques.

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