CELEBRATION, Fla. — Mercury College B.A.S.S., the premier college circuit of tournament anglers, announces its schedule and locations for the 2012 season. North to south, east to west, the circuit will cover regions that allow every style of angler to showcase his or her skills on the water.
“When we created Mercury College B.A.S.S. in 2006, there was one event. We grew the property to three events in 2008. Now we are boasting more than seven events that are created and run by us. Not to mention the fact that we will be placing a Mercury College B.A.S.S. angler in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic,” said Hank Weldon, circuit director.
The 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Feb. 24-26, will welcome the first-ever collegiate-level angler. Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill, Texas, will compete in the Classic, commonly known as the Super Bowl of bass fishing.
Upshaw qualified for the Classic by winning the 2011 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship in July. He and his teammate, Ryan Watkins, represented Stephen F. Austin University and won the national title. The next day, they fished against each other for a chance to compete in the Classic. (See Andrew Upshaw's Bassmaster.com blog.)
The first stop of the 2012 tour, at Lake Guntersville in Alabama, will be the South Super Regional, March 9-10. The following month, the tour moves to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for the April 13-14 East Super Regional.
“As a part of the team that helps bring tournaments to Smith Mountain Lake, Franklin County is extremely excited about the opportunity of hosting this tour. Fishing is big in southwest Virginia, but support of our college and university teams is even bigger. This tournament will be a tremendous plus to our community!” said Debra H. Weir, tourism/special events manager for Franklin County Commerce & Leisure Services.
The tour then heads to Fort Gibson Lake out of Wagoner, Okla., on May 11-12.
“The mayor and I are very pleased you have picked Wagoner for the college tournament for 2012. It really helps the economic impact to our community, and the anglers are so friendly and show their appreciation of all we do to make them feel welcome,” said Cyrina Lang of the Wagoner Area Chamber of Commerce.
On the heels of the Fort Gibson tournament, the Midwest Super Regional takes place the following week, May 18-19 on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
“La Crosse, Wis., is one of the largest cities on the upper Mississippi River, and we are proud to host the College B.A.S.S. series next May. Our vibrant community is home to three institutions of higher learning, which fits well with this event,” said Dave Clements, executive director of the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The location and date of the fifth event, the Western Wildcard, are still to be determined.
These five events serve as qualifiers for the national championship, set July 25-27 in Little Rock, Ark. The following two days, July 28-29, will be spent on a “Mystery Lake” in Little Rock for the Bassmaster Classic Bracket.
“We wanted to set a schedule that placed us at premier locations at the best time of the year for that location. I feel like we achieved that. It will be fun to watch what our anglers can do at these stops in 2012,” said Weldon.
To learn more about Mercury College B.A.S.S. and to enroll collegiate teams, go to Bassmaster.com/College.
|South Super Regional||March 9-10 Lake Guntersville||Guntersville, Ala|
|East Super Regional||April 13-14 Smith Mountain Lake||Franklin County, Va.|
|Central Super Regional||May 11-12 Fort Gibson Lake||Wagoner, Okla.|
|Midwest Super Regional||May 18-19 Mississippi River||La Crosse, Wis.|
|National Championship||July 25–27 TBA||Little Rock, Ark.|
|Bassmaster Classic Bracket||July 28-29 Mystery||Little Rock, Ark.|
Mercury College B.A.S.S. Official Sponsors: Mercury, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Falcon Rods, Ardent Reels