CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail Announces Increased Payout, New
Fishing's most prestigious series posts record prize purse
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - March 27, 2002 - With a new, expanded schedule for
the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail also comes an all-cash payout
in the pro division and increased payout in the amateur bracket as
the total payout will exceed $9 million.
"We have been talking with the anglers for several months now, and it
was a true team effort between the pros and B.A.S.S. to bring this
together," said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. While the
world's best anglers will be awarded prize money, those who fish as
amateurs will compete for the chance to win some of the finest boats
and motors to hit the water along with cash, he added.
The total payout represents a 44% increase over the 2001-2002 payout.
While the payout for 2002-2003, including the CITGO BASS Masters
Classic, will total $9.2 million, the total payout for 2001-2002,
including the Classic, was $6.4 million.
"With the expanded schedule an angler now has more opportunities to
earn a quality check," said B.A.S.S. pro Rick Clunn.
In addition to the traditional first prize, the amateurs will have an
opportunity to earn a bonus from title sponsor CITGO in the form of a
year's worth of free gasoline.
Under a new format, the touring pros will begin the season with 175
anglers, all of whom will fish the first six events on the schedule.
Following the sixth event, the field will be cut to 100 competitors
for the next two events. The final cut will reduce the field even
further, to just 50 anglers for the season's last two events. The
Tour's 40 qualifiers for the 2003 CITGO BASS Masters Classic will
come from this final field of 50.
"As the season progresses, fields will narrow in numbers, allowing
the top anglers to emerge from the pack and permitting us to conduct
our events in some wonderful fisheries that weren't quite large
enough in the past," added Weldon.
Tournament formats will see some changes as well. For example, events
on the Tour will see all anglers competing for the first two days.
Following the second day, the field will be cut to 12 for one day and
then to the "Super Six" for the final round. Also each fishery will
now have a 30-day off-limits period instead of the current one week.
"Increasing the off-limits time will force anglers to use all of
their skills and knowledge each week," said Weldon.
Amateurs who traditionally have been able to fish only during the
full-field days of competition will now have the opportunity to
participate following the cut. The top 12 amateurs will be paired
with one of the top 12 pros for the third day of competition.
Amateur Bonus Program
"We are extremely excited about forward thinking at B.A.S.S. and the
new format they've created for the Tour," said Don Rucks, Manager,
Brand Development, Consumer Marketing and Special Events for CITGO.
"We are especially appreciative of the opportunity to do more for the
amateur angler. The CITGO bonus program will allow the amateur a
chance to get more out of his week on the water."
Amateurs will be able to register for the events by mailing in an
entry card from BASSMASTER magazine's September issue.
CITGO BASSMASTER Showdowns
Competitions will still allow all anglers to "carryover" their weight
throughout the tournaments. One interesting twist is that four of the
10 events will utilize a special
CITGO BASSMASTER Showdown format modeled after what was formally
known as Megabucks. These widely popular and TV friendly tournaments
are full field for the first two days. The top 12 anglers and their
partners who then make the Saturday cut will fish 12 pre-determined
holes. Each angler will have a set amount of time to fish a location
(all of which will be off-limits during the first two days of
competition) prior to moving on to the next spot. As in all Tour
events, championship Sundays will be cut to a "Super Six." Anglers
will have their weights "zeroed" following the initial cut in the
CITGO BASSMASTER Showdown events.
Qualifying for the CITGO BASSMASTER Tour
The qualifications for the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail will
also become more stringent through a revised Open trail format. The
current CITGO BASSMASTER Open series of 12 events will be reduced to
nine events taking place on three circuits-the CITGO BASSMASTER
Northern Open Pro-Am, the CITGO BASSMASTER Central Open Pro-Am and
the CITGO BASSMASTER Southern Open Pro-Am.
The top 15 pro anglers on each Open trail will advance to the 2003
Tour, where only the top 100 of 175 pros will retain their Tour
status. The remaining 75 will have a guaranteed slot in the pro
division for the next season's Open trail of their choice.
Information on registration for the CITGO BASSMASTER Opens will
appear in the May issue of BASSMASTER magazine.
By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its B.A.S.S.
Federation, B.A.S.S. is the world's largest fishing organization. The
CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious
pro bass fishing tournament circuit. It continues to set the standard
for credibility, professionalism, and sportsmanship after more than
three decades. B.A.S.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN.
Sponsors of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail include: CITGO
Petroleum Corporation, Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha
Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics,
Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long
John Silver's, Gore-Tex Outerwear, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass
Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC/ B.A.S.S. Vehicle &
Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum Visa/First USA.
Associate Sponsors include: Bass Cat Boats and G3 Boats
For additional information contact B.A.S.S. Communications at (334)
BREAKDOWN OF NEW CITGO BASSMASTER TOURNAMENT TRAIL
January, 2003 New CITGO BASSMASTER Tour Begins
Tour is made up of:
Top 80 anglers from 2001-2002 CITGO BASSMASTER Tour
Top 25 anglers from the 2001-2002 Eastern Opens
Top 25 anglers from the 2001-2002 Central Opens
Top 20 anglers from the 2001-2002 Western Opens
Top 15 anglers from the 2002 North Open Pro-Am
Top 15 anglers from the 2002 Central Open Pro-Am
Top 15 anglers from the 2002 South Open Pro-Am
Each event is four days in length with a cut on Saturday to the top
12 and a cut on Sunday to the "Super Six".
The Tour is comprised of 10 events
After the sixth event of the season the field is cut from 175 to 100.
After the eighth event of the season the field is cut from 100 to 50.
Top 40 Tour pros after all events completed qualify for the 2003
CITGO BASS Masters Classic.
June-November 2002 New CITGO BASSMASTER Open Pro-Ams take place
3 Events North
3 Events Central
3 Events South
Top five anglers from each advance to 2003 CITGO BASS Masters Classic.
Top 15 anglers from each advance to 2003 CITGO BASSMASTER Tour.
Each event will be a three-day event and begin with a field of 200
that will be cut to 50 for the final day.