Minn Kota On Board to Sponsor Wal-Mart FLW Tour

Gilbertsville, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2001) - Minn Kota“, the world's leading
manufacturer of bow- and transom-mount trolling motors, has joined
Bass, the nation's premier bass tournament organization, as the
trolling motor sponsor of the $4.4 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour bass

The company has also signed on as a sponsor of the $2.5 million
Series and $5.7 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League as well as the
formed $1 million Texas Tournament Trail and $2.9 million Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Series. All told, Minn Kota will sponsor 149 bass and walleye
fishing tournaments across the United States.

"At Minn Kota we have been driven to improve the fishing experience by
offering high quality, innovative products," said Kelly Grindle, vice
president of Minn Kota. "Our sponsorship of these world-class fishing
tournaments is a natural extension of that principle. It is an ideal way
us to add value to our product line by supporting the passions of our

Grindle said that Minn Kota plans to use the sponsorship as a platform
promote its full line of motors including its most recent new product,

"Minn Kota is a superb company with the most well known brand name in
trolling motor business," said Irwin L. Jacobs, chairman of Operation
"We are honored to have them join our group of industry leading

Minn Kota bow-mount electric motors will be featured on the official FLW

Tour and EverStart Series boats used during televised events that are
broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and the Wal-Mart Television Network, which is
featured in 2,400 stores nationwide. Minn Kota will also receive
ad placement within the broadcast and in Bass Fishing magazine, the
publication of Operation Bass.

Minn Kota will be able to capitalize on marketing synergies and cross
promotions with other Operation Bass sponsors including Wal-Mart, CITGO,

Mercury Marine, Yamaha and Ranger Boats. The company will also use
interactive displays in the popular FLW Tour Family Fun Zone that is set
in the Wal-Mart parking lot at each tour stop. The Family Fun Zone is an

outdoor-themed festival that enables sponsors to promote products to
thousands of consumers in an unconventional, entertaining way.

"The Fun Zone provides us with a unique opportunity to build personal
relationships with potential customers in this industry leading
series," Grindle said. "It's an opportunity to build the kind of
relationship that will influence future product purchases for years to

Bass fishing is the most popular type of fishing among the nation's 55
million anglers. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the
of days annually spent fishing for bass among anglers 16 and older has
increased 21 percent since 1991 to 196 million. Research also shows that

bass anglers are, on average, wealthier and more educated than the U.S.
population as a whole, making the group a prime consumer base for Minn

Anglers in general spend nearly $40 billion annually in pursuit of their

sport. This number represents a 37 percent increase since 1991 and
an impressive opportunity for traditional industry sponsors and
sponsors alike.

"Anglers are passionate about their sport and extremely loyal to the
companies and brands that support it," Jacobs said. "Sponsoring events
as ours should have a tremendously positive influence on consumer
of specific brands."

To date, Operation Bass has assembled what is arguably the strongest
of sponsors in professional fishing thanks to exclusive deals with
consumer goods companies. Sponsors of the company's flagship Wal-Mart
Tour series are ALPO Pet Foods, BFGoodrich Tires, Black & Decker,
CITGO, Coleman, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Frito-Lay, Fujifilm,
's, Land O'Lakes, Lowrance, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Pepsi, Plano
Systems, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers Cruncher Bar, Timex,
Bank, Visa, Wal-Mart, Weed Eater, Wrangler and Yamaha Outboards. ACT II
microwave popcorn is an associate sponsor.

Operation Bass and its sponsors could collectively award more than $16
million to anglers during the 2001 Tournament season.

For more information on Operation Bass, visit www.operationbass.com or
270-362-4880. For more information on Minn Kota, visit