Shootout Qualifying Event Canceled By B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. Maintains Commitment To Increase Classic Prize Purse
Montgomery, Ala. - November 7, 2001 - B.A.S.S. announced today the first of a number of format changes designed to ensure the integrity of fishing's premier series, the CITGO BASSMASTER Tour and its world famous season finale.
"Our primary focus is to grow the prestige of the CITGO BASS Masters Classic and the tour itself and in the final analysis, the Shootout did not contribute to that process" said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Dewey Kendrick.
For this reason, B.A.S.S. announced the cancellation of the Classic Shootout qualifying event that was previously planned for 2002.
"This is an evolving process," stated B.A.S.S. General Manager Dean Kessel, who said that the increased payout for next year's CITGO BASS Masters Classic remains intact.
"We are truly committed to increasing payouts as much as the economic climate will allow," added Kessel, who pointed out that the 2002 Classic will pay the winner $200,000, twice the first prize awarded to Kevin VanDam in New Orleans last summer.
B.A.S.S. also remains committed to sending 30 qualifiers directly from the tour and the top five divisional winners from next spring's Federation Championship.
The remainder of the 2002 CITGO BASS Masters Classic field will be comprised of 14 Open division anglers; the top 5 from the East and Central series and the top 4 from the West, as well as the two most recent Classic winners (Kevin VanDam and Woo Daves) and the 2001 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (Mark Davis).
The field of 52 will be cut to 25 after the second day of competition.
"These decisions were made after careful consideration of all the factors. I must applaud the members of B.A.S.S.' Athlete Advisory Council for their support," said Kessel.
Just last month, B.A.S.S. initiated unprecedented dialog with the anglers who compete on its premier series. Ten members of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tour were elected by their peers and met for two days with officials representing ESPN Outdoors and B.A.S.S.
Among the anglers who participated was four-time Classic winner Rick Clunn, who expressed pleasure with the direction B.A.S.S. is headed.
"Canceling the shootout was the right thing to do. We are maintaining the integrity of the BASS Masters Classic and focusing our energy on where it belongs," said Clunn.
"This is just a first step in our ongoing process to evaluate what is best for the sport," commented Kessel, who was hired earlier this year to lead the venerable organization.
For more information contact:
B.A.S.S. Communications at (334) 272-9530