BASS announced Wednesday that the organization will head to Alabama, the state where it was founded by Ray Scott more than 40 years ago, for the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason. The postseason, dubbed the Toyota Trucks Championship Week and set for Sept. 10-18, will be played out on two productive Alabama fisheries, with the first leg — the Berkley Powerbait Trophy Chase — set for Lake Jordan out of Wetumpka and the finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, slated for the Alabama River from Montgomery.
Rich with BASS history, Alabama has hosted 10 Bassmaster Classics and will be the site for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 out of Birmingham and Lay Lake. The 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series season will culminate with the final day's weigh-in in Montgomery, a city in which BASS was headquartered for more than 35 years. The 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be crowned at the season finale and will be awarded the accompanying $200,000 top prize.
"What a way to end the 2009 season in a state where BASS was established," said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager, ESPN Outdoors & BASS. "With this new format, we anticipate an exciting finish that will create excellent content for fishing fans."
Additionally, at the conclusion of the final weigh-in, Academy of Country Music Award winner for 2009 Best New Group and recent CMT Music Award nominee, Zac Brown Band, will play a free, live concert at the Montgomery Riverwalk Amphitheater. Best known for the No. 1 hit single, "Chicken Fried", the Zac Brown Band ushered in the 2009 BASS tournament season with a rambunctious set at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
With the introduction of the new postseason format, a detailed schedule has been created for the Toyota Trucks Championship Week, beginning with two practice days, Sept. 10-11, followed by two competition days, Sept. 12-13, on Jordan, titled the Berkley Powerbait Trophy Chase. The 12 qualifying anglers will then take a one-day break Sept. 14 for media and sponsor activities. Anglers will then move to Montgomery for the final competition, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph.
A two-day practice period, Sept. 15-16, on the Alabama River will be followed by the season's final two days of competition on the spacious fishery Sept. 17-18. With the postseason about four months away and half of the regular-season events in the books, the jockeying for postseason position is heating up.
Only the Top 12 anglers in the Bassmaster Elite Series regular-season AOY standings will qualify for the postseason. The regular season will conclude with the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champion's Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y.
BASS is matching the prestige of the postseason events with an ambitious multimedia schedule. As part of daily, live updates on Bassmaster.com, the popular webcast, Hooked Up, will host on-the-water coverage from practice and competition days coupled with live post-competition interviews. Also, similar to the Elite Series regular season, streaming, video from the daily weigh-ins will be streamed on ESPN360.com.
Other events planned as part of Bassmaster.com postseason coverage include live skills contests, content from morning launches and on-the-water updates throughout the competition. ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders will anchor the coverage with significant contributions from BASS emcee Keith Alan.
Fishing fans can also catch expanded television coverage chronicling the two postseason events on The Bassmasters on Sept. 27 at 2-4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
As previously announced, the scoring format for the postseason will ensure the integrity of the Angler of the Year award and provide for an exciting, down-to-the-wire race. After the regular season, BASS will determine the Top 12 moving into the postseason based on their final place in the regular-season standings.
Postseason scores will be calculated by moving one decimal place to the left and rounding to the nearest tenth. Additionally, each angler will receive two bonus points for each regular-season win. For the two postseason events, anglers will be scored on a 50-point sliding scale.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at 407-566-2208. Visit ESPNOutdoorsMedia.com for ESPN Outdoors' latest releases, schedules and photos.
Official sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Outboards
Supporting sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.
Local Sponsors: The City of Wetumpka, The City of Montgomery, Riverfront Facilities and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau.
TOYOTA TRUCKS CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK
Berkley Powerbait Trophy Chase
Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph