CELEBRATION, Fla. — Here are some facts about the CITGO Bassmaster Classic from the illustrious 35-year history of fishing's biggest event. The upcoming Classic will take place Feb. 24-26, 2006, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
About the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic
• The upcoming Bassmaster Classic is the second Classic ever held in Florida. (The other? In 1977 on Lake Toho won by Rick Clunn).
• Rick Clunn is competing in his 30th Classic. Four others have qualified for 20 or more: Roland Martin (25), Larry Nixon (25), Gary Klein (24) and George Cochran (21).
• There are nine CITGO Bassmaster Anglers of the Year competing in the 2006 Classic, including reigning titlist Aaron Martens. The others? Tim Horton, Rick Clunn, Larry Nixon, Davy Hite, Gary Klein, Gerald Swindle, Jay Yelas and Kevin VanDam.
• Including reigning champion Kevin VanDam, there are seven past Classic winners in this event: Rick Clunn, Larry Nixon, George Cochran, Davy Hite, Michael Iaconelli and Jay Yelas.
• Rick Clunn of Missouri holds the record for most Bassmaster Classic victories (4).
• The very first Classic was in 1971 on Lake Mead in Nevada. The destination was kept secret from anglers and fans until contestants were en route to Las Vegas.
• The first foreign national to win a Bassmaster Classic was Japanese pro Takahiro Omori in 2004.
• Only one angler has won both the Bassmaster Classic and the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year title in the same year: Arkansas pro Mark Davis in 1995.
• The late Bryan Kerchal was the only angler representing the BASS Federation Nation to ever win the Classic.
• Georgia's Stanley Mitchell is the youngest Classic champion. (21 years old when he won in 1981).
• Woo Daves of Virginia is the oldest Classic champion. (54 years old when he won in 2000).
• Rick Clunn holds the record for the heaviest winning weight in Classic history — 21 bass weighing 75 pounds, 9 ounces — in 1984.
• Kevin VanDam caught the smallest winning weight in Classic history — 11 bass weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces — in 2005.
• The closest Bassmaster Classic finish ever was Dion Hibdon edging Bobo Dalton by a single ounce in 1997.
• Since 2000, each Bassmaster Classic has attracted approximately 300 working media from both national and international outlets.
The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be hosted by the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission.