Alabama announces $400,000 team trail

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Bass Trail (ABT), formed in 2012 to promote tourism to the state’s premier bass lakes, announced its newest attraction — a statewide team tournament trail paying a total of $400,000 in prizes in 2014.

Program Director Kay Donaldson announced the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series in ceremonies on the steps of the State Capitol Monday. Participating in ceremonies were Gov. Robert Bentley, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy, State Tourism Director Lee Sentel and State Sen. Arthur Orr.

Bentley, who is credited with creating the ABT to increase tourism and other uses of the state’s resources, noted that sportfishing generates approximately $16 million a year for the state in direct revenue through license fees, excise taxes and other taxes. “But this is about more than economic impact,” he added. “It’s about the quality of life fishing provides.”

Bentley credited Don Logan, an owner of B.A.S.S., with convincing him to create the Alabama Bass Trail.

Guy estimated that the economic impact of each of the team tournaments will be more than $1 million for each of the host communities.

Donaldson said the series is divided into the North and South divisions, with each division hosting five tournaments. A state championship will be held on Smith Lake in October 2014. North Division tournaments include lakes Guntersville, Pickwick, Neely Henry, Wheeler and Logan Martin. South Division sites are the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Eufaula, Jordan, Miller’s Ferry and Lay.

First place in each of the tournaments is $10,000, and the total purse for a full field of 200 teams is $33,000 in each event, Donaldson announced.

The championship will include 100 adult teams, along with 25 student teams that include an angler under the age of 18. There is no entry fee for the championship tournament. First prize for the final event will be a fully rigged Phoenix bass boat.

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