Classic trophies through the years

Like bass fishing’s most prestigious event — the Bassmaster Classic — the design and prominence of bass fishing’s most coveted trophy has evolved over the last 52 years. Beginning in 2023, the Classic trophy was named in memory of the late Ray Scott, the founder of B.A.S.S.
Each trophy, back to the first, was custom made. Bobby Murray, winner of the 1971 Classic, poses with his trophy at Lake Mead, Nevada. 
That trophy rode on a chartered jetliner from Atlanta to Las Vegas, along with the media and the 24 qualifiers whose names appear on the scoreboard. Back then, the Classic location was kept secret until the airplane reached cruising altitude, when Scott would announce the location. 
A fisherman posing as if to make a cast crowned the trophies in 1971 and 1972. For a time, Classic winners also received a gold ring with their name and year of winning. Murray’s ring and his trophy were displayed at the 2020 Classic.  
Don Butler, the first B.A.S.S. member and Lifetime Member, won the 1972 Classic on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville. The trophy was the same as the previous year, but there were other firsts. Contestants were awarded a bonus ounce for each live fish weighed in, as part of the new “Don’t Kill Your Catch” movement. The plane ride was also shorter. No sooner than it had taken off in Memphis, it landed 30 minutes later, much to the surprise of the passengers.
Rayo Breckenridge, an Arkansas cotton farmer, staved off a final charge by Bill Dance to win the 1973 Classic on Clarks Hill Reservoir in South Carolina. The trophy got a facelift, with the angler replaced by a leaping bass. Added to the trophy was script announcing the true intended scope of the Classic. It read: Miller High Life Bass Masters Classic, 1973 World Champion. 
The 1974 Classic field grew to 29 anglers and so did the prize, with the trophy and the $15,000 first-place check going to Tommy Martin at Wheeler Lake, Alabama. 
The trophy style from 1975 through 1985, with a tabletop multi-panel plaque design featuring the Classic logo and B.A.S.S. member shield on each side. Each Classic also had a custom embroidered patch distinct to each year, and that design also appeared on the trophy. Also note, back in the early days, the event was called the BASS Masters Classic.
Jack Hains was the winner of the 1975 Classic held on Currituck Sound, a tidal fishery on the Outer Banks of coastal Atlantic in North Carolina. From 1971 through 1976, the Classic site was veiled in secrecy, and hence the mystery flights used by Scott to build the hype and make the announcement. Even the lodging was secret. At this Classic, the local organizer booked the hotel, the Carolinian Hotel, in its entirety under the group name of the National Travel Trailer Manufacturer’s Association.
Las Vegas. The Outer Banks. Scott never swayed from stepping outside the bass fishing comfort zone, doing so again in 1980 at the St. Lawrence River, in upstate New York and on the Canadian border. Bo Dowden held the trophy and the $40,000 check. The Classic, and the trophy, would be featured on ABC’s 20/20 primetime program on Thanksgiving evening. 
The 1986 Classic trophy (and commemorative embroidered patch) got a complete redesign when it made its debut with winner Charlie Reed at Chickamauga Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. B.A.S.S. commissioned the trophy company to also design commemorative belt buckles, each with a distinct design for each qualifying tournament, that were provided to the winners of the events. Those designs were embedded around the base of the trophy. 
This studio shot of the 1993 trophy provides a more detailed view of each distinct event embroidered patch design, including a Bassmaster BP Top 100, the BP standing for the petroleum company and title sponsor of the series. The Top 100s were the forerunner to today’s Bassmaster Elite Series. This is the trophy won by David Fritts at Lake Logan Martin, Alabama. 
The 1994 trophy, displaying the trophy versions of the colorful embroidered patches provided to contestants of the tournaments. A full-color enamel pin modeled after the patch was another token given to the anglers. That Classic was won by B.A.S.S. Nation angler Bryan Kerchal at High Rock Lake, North Carolina. 
Rick Clunn charged from nearly 10 pounds behind to win the 1990 Classic on the James River in Virginia. Clunn added the newest trophy design to the paneled versions used in his 1976, 1977 and 1984 previous Classic wins. 
The trophy got beefed up in 1987 when George Cochran took it home from the Ohio River and Louisville, Ky. The noticeable change is the addition to the size of the mid-section of the trophy and center artwork. 
In 1999, Davy Hite, today an analyst for The Bassmasters on FS1, and Bassmaster LIVE on, won the Classic on the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Hite is joined by his wife, Natalie, and the trophy. 
Woo Daves, winner of the 2000 Classic on Lake Michigan, where he claimed the trophy at famed Soldier Field, home turf for the Chicago Bears. In the background is downtown Chicago. 
By 2002, the ESPN ownership of B.A.S.S. appeared on the next generation of the Classic trophy. Gone are the patch emblems used in the 1990s, in favor of a sleeker design with the World Champion designation standing out. Jay Yelas poses with his trophy, won at the 2002 Classic held on Lay Lake, Alabama. 
The 50th Classic trophy, won by Hank Cherry at Lake Guntersville, Alabama in 2020.
The newest trophy design features design upgrades, rounded edges, more information and a color plaque.
Cherry claims his second modern trophy in 2021 with his back-to-back Classic win on Lake Ray Roberts, Texas.
The 2022 edition of the trophy claimed by Jason Christie at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina.
The biggest trophy awarded on the biggest stage in bass fishing.
For 2023, the next generation of Classic trophy debut. On it, the name of B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott. 
The 2023 Classic champion Jeff Gustafson with the Ray Scott Trophy. Note the enlarged trophy base and larger sized World Champion fonts.