BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — To showcase its Evan Williams Bourbon brand, Heaven Hill Distilleries, a premier-level sponsor of Bassmaster events, has taken on the title sponsorship of the seventh Bassmaster Elite Series competition of the 2013 season.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River is set for Aug. 8-11 out of Waddington, N.Y.
The Waddington venue is a first for the Elite Series, the most visible circuit of pro bass fishing. But bass and Bourbon is a familiar pairing. Evan Williams Bourbon has been the title sponsor of other Elite events, including postseason competitions.
“We are excited about extending our involvement in professional bass fishing by being part of this new venue for the Elite Series,” said Susan Wahl, brand manager for Evan Williams Bourbon at Heaven Hill Distilleries.
“We have continuously increased our stake in the sport since first becoming involved years ago,” Wahl added, “and we feel that we are supporting an important and growing sport that reaches our consumers in a relevant way. Research shows that 25 percent of all fishing enthusiasts drink Bourbon, and this event is the perfect sampling opportunity and brand awareness builder for us.”
Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the second-largest-selling brand of Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey in the world. Named for Kentucky’s first distiller of 1783, the product is recognized for its extra aging, which gives it a richer, smoother Bourbon taste. The brand is available nationally in Black, White,Green,1783, Single Barrel varieties. All Evan Williams products are distilled and bottled in Kentucky.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River will pit 100 of the world’s best anglers against each other for a first prize of $100,000 and an instant entry in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic out of B.A.S.S.’ home city, Birmingham, Ala.
“Partnering with Evan Williams Bourbon for our Elite Series debut in Waddington will give the event an even higher profile than what we’ve been seeing since the site was announced,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Waddington is going all-out for the Elite Series and its sponsors.”
Although the Elite Series has never competed on the St. Lawrence, and no Bassmaster event has been hosted by Waddington, the river is no stranger to professional fishing. One example is the 1980 Bassmaster Classic, which was on the St. Lawrence.
Many pros in the 2013 Elite field have competed on the river that forms the Canada-U.S. border in upstate New York. Fishing great Rick Clunn won a 1992 Bassmaster Invitational on the river. Other big names in the 2013 Elite field were there in 1992, too: Shaw Grigsby (second place to Clunn) and Tommy Biffle (fourth place) are two examples.
Seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam landed two of his 20 career wins on the St. Lawrence. In the first of those two river victories, a 1995 Bassmaster Invitational, Elite pro Davy Hite was the runner-up.
When VanDam won his other St. Lawrence title in a 1999 Invitational, several others in the 2013 Elite field competed against him, such as Charlie Hartley and Michael Iaconelli.
New challenges await even Clunn, VanDam, Iaconelli and the other Elite pros familiar with the St. Lawrence. Time alters a river system, and the Waddington launch location gives the pros a new starting point.
Whatever the differences turn out to be, the smallmouth bass action in August is expected to be fast. And as the seventh of eight regular-season events that determine the 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year winner, the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown will be pivotal.
Fans are invited to Waddington to watch the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River. While they’re in town, they’ll have the opportunity to sample Evan Williams Bourbon at the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo. Evan Williams featured products will include Black label, 1783, Single Barrel, as well as the flavored reserves which include Honey, Cherry and Cinnamon.