CITGO BASS Federation Championship presented by Busch Beer
Lake Tuscaloosa, Ala. (May 15-17)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - May 7, 2003 - Top amateur anglers from around the world will converge on Tuscaloosa, Ala. May 12-17 to compete in the 2003 CITGO BASS Federation Championship presented by Busch Beer.

"We're very excited to be back in Tuscaloosa; it's kind of like a homecoming," said BASS Federation Director Al Smith.  "We were here back in 1989, which was the first year we held the championship in its current format.  So, it's kind of like coming home again and we can't wait."

The 54 anglers qualified to represent their state or national Federations at the Championship through a series of tournaments.  The field comes from 46 states, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy, Canada and Japan.  The champion of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Grand National tournament is also invited to fish for the top spot and one of five amateur berths in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer.  For the first time in Federation history, the previous year's champion, Ken Christ of Illinois, has also been invited to return and defend his title.

Anglers will launch at 5:30 a.m. from the Rock Quarry launch site.  Weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. daily at Jenkins Arena.

The CITGO BASS Federation Championship will air on ESPN2 May 24 at 10:30 a.m. (ET).

Schedule of Events for the CITGO BASS Federation Championship

Briefing Mon., May 12, 4:15 p.m. Four Points Sheraton

First Practice Day Tues., May 13

Second Practice Day Wed., May 14

First day launch Thurs., May 15, 5:30 a.m. Rock Quarry

BASS Sponsor Expo Thurs., May 15, 1:00 to 5:00 Jenkins Arena

Day 1 weigh-in Thurs., May 15, 3:00 p.m. Jenkins Arena

Second day launch Fri., May 16, 5:30 a.m. Rock Quarry

BASS Sponsor Expo Fri., May 16, 1:00 to 5:00 Jenkins Arena

Day 2 weigh-in Fri., May 16, 3:00 p.m. Jenkins Arena

Final Day launch Sat., May 17, 5:30 a.m. Rock Quarry

BASS Sponsor Expo Sat., May 17, Noon to 5 Jenkins Arena

CastingKids Semi-Finals Sat., May 17, 8:45 a.m. Jenkins Arena

Final Weigh-in Sat., May 17, 3:00 p.m. Jenkins Arena


1988 - Danny Joe Humphrey (N.C.) -Chickamauga & Nickajack lakes, Chattanooga, TN

1989 - Frank Lee Haught (W.V.) - Lake Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL

1990 - Lee Byrd (Ga.) - Smith Mountain Lake, Roanoke, VA

1991 - Ed Cowan (N.Y.) - Smith Mountain Lake, Roanoke, VA

1992 - Larry Jacobs (N.C.) - Lake Neely Henry, Gadsden, AL

1993 - Mike Holt (Tenn.) - Arkansas River, Pine Bluff, AR

1994 - Bryan Kerchal (Conn.) - Arkansas River, Pine Bluff, AR

1995 - John Parks (N.M.) - Mississippi River, Quincy, IL

1996 - Craig Schuff (Texas)  - Mississippi River, Quincy, IL

1997 - Dalton Bobo (Ala.) - Red River, Shreveport, LA

1998 - Mark Hickenbottom (Ohio) -  Ft. Loudoun & Tellico lakes, Knoxville, TN

1999 - Michael Iaconelli (N.J.) - Red River, Shreveport, LA

2000 - Rickie Harp (Ala.) - Ft. Loudoun & Tellico lakes, Knoxville, TN

2001 - Mike Holt (Tenn.) - Mobile Bay, Mobile, AL

2002 - Ken Christ (Mo.)- Red River, Shreveport, LA

A component of the CITGO BASS Federation Championship this year is the interactive BASS Sponsor Expo area. Sponsors present exhibits, many of which are interactive and provide an enjoyable experience for all family members. The Expos are free to those attending.

The CastingKids National Semi-Finals presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO will be held Saturday, May 17 from 8:45 a.m. to noon at Jenkins Arena.  The top five finalists in both the 7-10 and 11-14 age group will advance to the 2003 CastingKids National Championship Aug. 2 in New Orleans, La.

The participants will have a chance to get to know one another at the CastingKids Cookout, Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Bryant Conference Center.

For the first time in the 16-year history of the CITGO BASS Federation Championship, the previous year's winner will get an opportunity to defend his crown. Ken Christ had a phenomenal season last year, winning the Championship, finishing fifth at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games and sixth at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

"It was a complete, unexpected thrill to have the invitation extended to return," Christ said.  "I feel about as ready as I can get.  ... It could be a tough tournament.  There's a lot of fish there and I think it's going to come down to who gets the big ones to bite."

This year's Bassmaster CastingKids National Semi-final presented by Chevy Trucks and CITGO will definitely have a strong taste of sibling rivalry with seven sets of siblings competing. Fortunately for their parents, none of the dynamic duos is entered in the same age group.

Sibling combinations qualified for the Semi-finals
Ark. David (10) and Michael (14) Bates
Calif. Travis (8) and Billy (14) Goodwin
Del. Kyle (8) and Ashley (13) Rodriguez
Iowa Alix (10) and Wells (11) Kaiser
Mont. Blaine Newman (7) and Drew Forster (14)
Ore. Josh (9) and Jessica (11) Abernathy
Wash. Kiana (7) and Jori (11) Clark

The annual BASS Federation awards banquet will be Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Four Points Sheraton Ballroom.  The Federations will honor the 2003 Champion, all 54 competitors, and the Federation Man of the Year.

The top angler in each geographical division will earn a berth to this summer's CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. They will be a part of a gathering of the top 61 anglers in the world, made up of 40 anglers from the CITGO Bassmaster Tour, 15 anglers from the CITGO Bassmaster Open series and last season's Busch BASS Angler of the Year Davy Hite.

The following list of anglers have already qualified for this August's CITGO Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans, La. through the CITGO Bassmaster Open series which took place last fall.

>From the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Division:
Koby Kreiger, Indiana
Lee Bailey, Connecticut
Michael Iaconelli, New Jersey
Randall Romig, Pennsylvania
David LeFebre, Pennsylvania

>From the CITGO Bassmaster Central Division:
Greg Hackney, Louisiana
Edwin Evers, Oklahoma
Mike Gough, Florida
Homer Humphreys, Louisiana
Chad Morganthaler, Illinois

>From the CITGO Bassmaster Southern Division:
Jason Quinn, South Carolina
Wesley Strader, Tennessee
Todd Auten, South Carolina
Michael Johnson, Georgia
Tom Hamlin, Georgia

Additionally, 2002 Busch BASS Angler of the Year Davy Hite receives a berth in the Classic. Should 2002 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Champion Jay Yelas not qualify based on his 2003 performance, he would also receive an automatic bid.

For information and news about BASS events, is available to members of the media and the general public and provides daily wrap-ups and standings from each event as well as schedules of events and other BASS news. 

Sponsors of the CITGO BASS Federation Championship presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Chevrolet Trucks, Yamaha Outboards, Mercury Marine, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Progressive Boat Insurance, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Diamond Cut Jeans, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, BankOne and Quantum.

Associate Sponsor Bryant Heating and Cooling.

Sponsored locally by the Alabama BASS Federation and Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitors Bureau and SouthernLinc Communications.

For additional information contact: BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375.