Clunn, Martin Ride Illustrious Resumes Into Event



NEW ORLEANS, La. (July 2, 2001) They are the legends of professional bass fishing, two pros who have accomplished just about everything significant that the sport has to offer. Between them, they own four BASS Masters Classic championships, ten B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year titles, 32 victories and 51 Classic appearances.

 And at the age of 55 and 61 respectively, Rick Clunn and Roland Martin are still at the top of their game, as evidenced by their qualification for the 31st BASS Masters Classic. And the star-studded duo are once again among the favorites.

 Clunn and fishings main event have become synonymous over the years, which is understandable when you consider that the Missouri pro has qualified every year since turning pro in 1973 winning the Classic a record four times. This year, Clunn will be competing for a record 28th consecutive time.

 Clunn expects to qualify for the Classic each year. I don't think about not making it, to be honest, except for some of those years when theres been two tournaments left and Im going, Whoa, wait a minute, he said. This isnt exactly where I want to be. Fortunately, this wasnt one of those years.

 Clunn, who finished third in the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year race behind Mark Davis and Kevin VanDam, was asked if he understood the magnitude of his Classic accomplishment. I really didnt until Tim Horton said something a year ago when he won Angler of the Year, he replied. He put it in a context beyond what I had even been thinking. He said it may be one of the greatest feats in all of athletics, not just bass fishing. That kind of hit me when he said that. I really had not considered it up until that point.

 He was comparing it to Cal Ripken and some of those guys that have been playing at a high level for a long period of time.

 As usual, Clunn will be among the pros to watch as Classic XXXI unfolds in the tidal waters of the Louisiana Delta.

 The oldest man in the Classic field, Roland Martin served notice this year that his competitive fires had not waned by winning the points title in the Eastern Invitational division. That earned him a 23rd Classic invitation (second only to Clunn) and his first return since 1998.

 Its been damn hard work. Its tough to make the Classic, Martin said.

It used to be easy to make the Classic, but it kept getting harder. The last couple of years, Ive missed by just a few points. Theres been five or six years where I was real close to making it and didnt make it. So its getting harder and harder.

 It went from a point that making the Classic was like falling off a log for me. I remember quoting myself 20 years ago saying Ill always make the Classic. Now, Im lucky and relieved to make it period.

 Returning to the Classic at age 61 is special for Martin, since it is the one title that has eluded him over the years.

 Im just as driven as ever to win the Classic, said Martin. It would be terrific right now at this stage of my career to win it. Its the only thing missing from my career.

 Martin, who owns B.A.S.S. records for tournament victories (19) and Angler of the Year titles (nine), is a true pioneer of this sport, who has grown up with B.A.S.S. In fact, he is the only angler in the 2001 Classic that participated in the first BASS Masters Classic in 1971.

 Its been a great ride and Im proud of what this sport and B.A.S.S. has become, he said. Ive always believed in B.A.S.S. from the start.

 Among the sports elder statesmen in this Classic field will be 56-year-old Harold Allen of Texas, who will be making his 13th Classic appearance. Its great to be going back to the Classic, said Allen, the Classic runner-up in 1981. Im tickled to death to be fishing another Classic.

 The 45 Classic contenders will be fishing for a $100,000 top prize and

the most important title in the sport.  Winning the Classic is the

high-water mark in professional fishing and an accomplishment that has

rewarded past winners with as much as $1 million in residual earnings.  The

Classic is the championship event of the BASSMASTER Tournament Trail.


By sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide, B.A.S.S. is the

worlds largest fishing organization. The 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.


The BASS Masters Classic is a week-long celebration for those who love

the sport of bass fishing. Notable activities during the 2001 Classic Week

in New Orleans include the Kids Klassic which takes place on Wednesday,

August 1st at Lafreniere Park.  The event is highlighted by a Meet the Pros

autograph session from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.  The Kids Klassic takes place from

9 a.m. to noon.


Sponsors of the 2001 BASS Masters Classic include: Chevrolet Trucks, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Pennzoil Marine, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Stowaway Batteries, Kumho Tires, Long John Silvers, Gore-Tex Outwear, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Bass Pro Shops, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, GMAC Vehicle & Boat Insurance, B.A.S.S. Platinum First USA Visa Card.


Associate Sponsors include: Bass Cat Boats, G3 Boats


The 2001 BASS Masters Classic is presented locally in conjunction with:

State of Louisiana, Jefferson Parish Tourism and Greater New Orleans Sports