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County, Lake Fork to Host Toyota Texas Bass Classic

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In what promoters are calling the "largest event" ever in Wood County, 160 specially selected professional fishermen will gather to showcase their skills on one of the premier bass fishing lakes in the world. The event, the "Toyota Texas Bass Classic," is expected to draw 25,000 people during its week long run April 9-15.

Toyota has engineered this inaugural event in observance of the 25th anniversary of Lake Fork. Toyota has committed to at least three more annual renewals.

The fishermen this year will be competing for a $1,000,000 purse.

Grandstands will be erected on Sabine River Authority off FM-288, east off SH-154, to accommodate spectators for live musical entertainment on Saturday and Sunday headlining country music star Clay Walker. A family "Fun Zone" will be set up nearby as will a fishing industry Expo featuring instructional seminars, a trout fishing pond for youngsters, booths with the latest in fishing equipment, gear and accessories and food concessionaires.

Contestants will have the opportunity to explore the lake and practice Monday. On Thursday, there will be a pro-am event. The three day professional fishing competition beginning Friday is a three-day event comprised of teams.

Planners of the Lake Fork event are likening it to the "Masters" Golf Tournament. Fishing is the number one outdoor pastime in the country with more men 18 years and older participating in fresh water fishing-more than any other sport. There are 55 million fishermen in the U.S, more than half of whom, 29-million, are bass fishermen. The fishing industry was a $35-billion business in 2001.

Can there be any greater venue for Toyota than this. Every one of those fishermen has a pickup. And, it is no coincidence that Toyota's new truck plant-building the heavily promoted Tundra-is located in Texas. Toyota and Texas, Toyota and Tundra, Toyota and Fishing. YES!

The Outdoor Life Network will air half-hour shows each day of the competition with a wrap up show on Saturday and/or Sunday, April 22. CBS-TV will offer a one-hour special telecast on the event Sunday, May 13.

Wood County Industrial Commission Executive Director Gary McKinley said Wood County has never experienced an influx of people predicted for this event-especially in a rural part of the county. "All of our resources are going to be taxed to meet the people needs of this event-the parking and shuttle transportation, the hospitality industry, restaurants, service facilities and transportation. A city with a population four or five times our largest community will literally have to be set-up for a weekend." "However," McKinley said, "based on our experience with other major fishing events this one week-long event is conservatively estimated to generate $10 million in local area economic activity."

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation and a number of children's charities to be determined.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2009 17:12  

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