Already a staunch supporter of competitive bass fishing at the college level, Bass Pro Shops has become an Official Premier Sponsor of Mercury College B.A.S.S., the Bassmaster circuit that qualifies one student to compete in the prestigious Bassmaster Classic.
As part of the new sponsor commitment, Bass Pro Shops will supply a fully equipped Nitro Z-9 to the 2012 qualifier for use in the Classic. The Z-9 will be wrapped to showcase the Bass Pro Shops, Nitro and Mercury College B.A.S.S. brands.
Bass Pro Shops also will provide identical Z-9 rigs for use by the two finalists who will complete in the Mercury College B.A.S.S. championship on July 10 in Arkansas to claim the Classic berth.
“Bass Pro Shops and Nitro Boats are excited to partner with B.A.S.S. to sponsor College B.A.S.S. and to provide these top-of-the-line boats,” said Rick Emmitt, marketing manager - angler programs/pro staff at Bass Pro/Tracker Marine Group.
“With Bass Pro Shops behind us as an official sponsor, we can keep growing as the premier circuit for college students,” said Hank Weldon, director of Mercury College B.A.S.S.
Based in Springfield, Mo., Bass Pro Shops is a long-standing Official Premier sponsor of the Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series. Bass Pro Shops is also title sponsor of the Bassmaster Opens.
Bass Pro Shops has shown its strong commitment to the college level of the sport with the 2011 Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Incentive Program. Anglers competing in qualifying college-level circuits can win bonuses of up to $2,000. Nitro and Tracker boat owners who fish a qualifying event can also be eligible for additional incentives of up to $1,000.
“The collegiate angler is the future of our sport. The development of our incentive program shows our commitment to help college anglers pursue their dream of fishing competitively,” Emmitt said.
Weldon noted that there are 86 anglers in this week’s July 7-9 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship out of Little Rock, Ark. Any who are not already enrolled can still sign up for the Bass Pro Shops incentive program.
“College anglers, in particular, appreciate the chance to earn such a substantial bonus,” Weldon said.
The Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship will begin Thursday on the Arkansas River with 43 two-man teams fishing from 43 boats. The field will be cut to the top five teams for one more day of fishing, and one team will emerge as the champ of 2011.
In a final twist, the two anglers on the winning team will split up and compete against each other on July 10. Each assigned to a Nitro Z-9, they’ll be given six hours on the same fishery (to be announced at the same moment that the two qualifiers are determined). The Classic qualifier will be the angler with the most weight after one day of fishing.
Fans can watch the July 7-9 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship online at Bassmaster.com. The all-out coverage will begin about 1 p.m.( ET) each day July 7-9; the July 10 Classic contest will also be covered by Bassmaster.com.
Fans can watch on TV, too. ESPNU, now in 72.6 million households, will present Mercury College B.A.S.S. events beginning in July on three consecutive Sundays: July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. The air time for each program each is 9 p.m. (ET).