(BIRMINGHAM, Ala./TULSA, Okla.) — B.A.S.S., and the Tulsa Sports Commission announced today its selection of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees and the Tulsa metro region as the site and host of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 22-24, 2013. It is the 43rd edition of sport fishing's greatest championship and the first to be hosted by the state of Oklahoma.
Grand Lake marks the farthest west site for the Classic since the 1979 championship on Lake Texoma. It is the sixth time that B.A.S.S. has held a professional event on Grand Lake, which was the venue for three Invitational tournaments in the 1990s and Elite Series events in 2006 and 2007.
"We're very excited to bring the Classic to Oklahoma and Grand Lake," said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. "It's a wonderful venue for us, and we're confident it will provide a true test of the best when the world's greatest bass anglers compete in the championship of our sport."
In 2013, the event will bring an expected economic impact of nearly $26 million to the local and regional economy. The Bassmaster Classic marks the inaugural event of a new era in the Tulsa region’s tourism industry with a nationally-recognized, highly visible, three-day event that garners an average attendance of over 70,000 individuals.
The BOK Center will hold daily weigh-ins and the Tulsa Convention Center will hold the Classic Outdoors Expo. Competition boats will launch from Disney State Park Recreation Area #3 near Pensacola Dam, the world's longest multiple arch dam, which impounded the Grand River to form the lake in 1940.
“This is truly a regional event,” said Ray Hoyt, senior vice president of VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission. “With events downtown at the BOK Center and at Grand Lake, an estimated 10,000 hotel nights that will fall somewhere in between and a number of partnerships across the region that will make this event a success, the 2013 Bassmaster Classic is an exciting opportunity to exercise VisitTulsa’s regional scope as an organization attracting and promoting economically-impacting events to the area.”
Up to fifty-four anglers will compete for a $500,000 first place prize and a $1.2 million purse over three days of fishing in average February temperatures of mid 40s. Low temperatures and late winter Classics have typically meant big tournament weights, as evidenced by record-breaking catches since the Classic transitioned from a summertime to a late winter event beginning in 2006. Limit (five bass) catches in the 20-pound range with daily big bass weighing between 7 and 9 pounds are expected.
B.A.S.S.' history at Grand Lake began with three Invitational tournaments between 1991 and 1995. Those events were in the spring and fall, and daily limits weighing between 15 and 18 pounds per day were required to win. The lake has been even more productive in recent years, when the Bassmaster Elite Series came to Grand Lake in the summers of 2006 and 2007. Those tournaments were won by Mike McClelland and Kevin VanDam, respectively, and took daily limits averaging almost 20 pounds for the top finishers. At Grand Lake, daily big bass averaged between 6 and 8 pounds.
Through their directed marketing activities, VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission actively recruit conventions, meetings, and sporting events. They offer professional assistance in every area of meeting, convention and sporting event activity, including planning, promotion, housing and registration, and visitor and competitor services. In 1903, the founders of the Tulsa Commercial Club included visitor attraction as a primary focus of duty. For more than 107 years, the Tulsa Metro Chamber has continued this focus as a partner to the city of Tulsa.
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