BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bassmaster Classic fans can always expect a world-class fishing competition. But lumberjacks and Labrador retrievers?
Count on it — and much, much more.
With less than a month to go until the Feb. 22-24 Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, B.A.S.S. LLC and its many partners have been building on the list of free bonus entertainment for fans lucky enough to be in Tulsa, Okla., to watch the world championship.
One of the newest additions is the Outdoor Games Zone. Its anchor is a 30,000-gallon swimming pool — for dogs, that is. The pool is for the Super Retriever Series (SRS) Eukanuba Super Dock event, a dog-jumping competition that Classic fans can watch and follow over the same three days of angler competition. Not all the dogs will be Labradors, but all can jump, and spectacularly so.
Just for Classic fans, the SRS event organizer, Dancin’ Dog Productions of Little Rock, Ark., is adding an audience participation segment. Fans selected from the audience will be given the opportunity to get up on the Zone stage and experience a little something of what it takes to get a dog to jump as far as it can over — and into — water.
Other fun segments are planned, such as Ducks and Dogs and Casting with Pro Fishermen. Pool activities will change frequently.
Also in the Zone will be the Daisy Inflatable Shooting Education Range. Trained volunteers from the National Wild Turkey Federation will be on hand to show kids ages 10 and up how to safely handle and fire BBs from a Daisy airgun. The Daisy range is a fully enclosed tunnel, and an adult volunteer will stay with each child. Kids will receive their paper targets to take home.
The Zone will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23; and 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.
The Outdoor Games Zone will be just one section of the 150,000-square-foot, 180-exhibitor Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Tulsa Convention Center. The free-admission Expo will be open Friday, Feb. 22, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Tulsa Convention Center is in downtown Tulsa (100 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103).
Just across the street, the air will be abuzz inside the BOK Center, the venue for the daily weigh-in shows. At least part of the high energy on Saturday and Sunday will be provided by the Timberworks Lumberjack Show powered by STIHL. Experts will show off their timber skills in events like Hot Saw, Speed Carving and Axe Throw, just to name three. The show will be presented Feb. 23 and 24 as part of the free pre-weigh-in entertainment. BOK Center doors will open at 3 p.m. each day.
Returning in 2013 is the collegiate braggin’ rights event that’s been a hit at several past Classic weigh-in shows. Anglers from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series will compete Sunday, Feb. 24, to take home the good-for-one-year boast of being “College Classic champ.” Last year’s winner, Arkansas, will defend its title against Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University. Each school will field three two-student teams. The highest combined weight will win the trophy for the team.
There are two more important Classic items — quieter, perhaps, but with big impacts. One stems from a Classic partnership with Folds of Honor, a not-for-profit organization with the mission to give something back to the families of soldiers who were killed or disabled. Donations will be accepted at the BOK Center, and Fold of Honor also will have a booth at the Expo. The second activity will be collections of non-perishable food items by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The food bank partners with multiple local organizations to distribute the food.
Fans, of course, are invited to help kick off Classic competition Feb. 22 at 7 a.m. at Wolf Creek Park on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. All 53 qualifiers will launch there on the first two days. The Feb. 24 finale will feature the Top 25 anglers, who will compete for the $500,000 first-place prize and the Classic crown. Daily weigh-ins will be at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. Doors will open at 3 p.m.; the entire event is free.
2013 Bassmaster Classic Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2013 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsor: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa
2013 Bassmaster Classic EXPO Presenting Sponsor: Dick’s Sporting Goods
2013 Bassmaster Classic Official Apparel Sponsor: Carhartt
2013 Bassmaster Classic Proud Partner: Mustang Survival