July 31, 2005

Pittsburgh final notebook

2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic; Pittsburgh, Pa.

Outdoors Expo Draws Droves of Fans

The ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour hosted nearly 34,000 people Thursday evening through Sunday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

Visitors, anglers and their families converged on the convention center in downtown Pittsburgh to attend the product show that was free to enter. Attendees saw the newest fishing and outdoor products available and visited interactive booths to test their casting abilities, archery and outdoor knowledge and other outdoor skills

As with past expos, the public was able to meet, greet and take pictures with their favorite anglers fishing the 35th annual CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

Exhibitors often use the expo to unveil their latest merchandise. Some exhibitors included Under Amour, Triton, Mercury Marine and BUSCH Beer. BASS founder Ray Scott made appearances as well as women anglers who plan to fish the Women's Bassmaster Tour in 2006.

Pooley Brought To Tears, Honored For Lifetime Achievement

Honored in front of thousands of spectators and fans, BASS employee James "Pooley" Dawson received the BASS Lifetime Achievement award for his 35 years of dedication to the company and the sport.

"I've been all over this country with BASS," Dawson. "I first want to thank God and Ray Scott for having trust in me and giving me a job in 1970. It's been a long ride, but a good one and I'm very happy to receive this award."

Moments later, Triton presented Dawson with a fully rigged boat including a Mercury outboard and Lowrence Electronics GPS system, bringing him to tears.

When asked why he thought he was getting the award, he simply said, "I guess because I did a good job."

In addition to the boat, Dawson was presented with several gifts including a voucher for $500 in CITGO gas, a one-year supply of Purolator oil filters, Berkley rods, reels and tackle, 20 cases of Busch beer, a towel signed by all of the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic anglers and several other goodies.

The Montgomery, Ala., resident is retiring Aug. 3 and plans to open a sandwich shop with his family.

Ohioan Narrowly Misses $1 Million Cast

Standing on the bow of the boat with a look of intense concentration, 57-year-old Bill Mitchell of Chardon, Ohio launched his lure 65 feet towards a bucket perched in a giant inflatable bass in the Berkley $1 Million Challenge.

"I was really nervous," said Mitchell. "I was just trying to concentrate on the target and make a good cast. I went to hit it and it bounced, missing the bucket by about a foot."

Mitchell registered for the event at the ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour and was randomly chosen to participate in the contest at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic final weigh-in.

With only 15 minutes to practice and prepare, Mitchell was given some quick instruction from 1991 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Ken Cook in the waiting area.

"Ken Cook helped me outside with my cast and gave me a pep talk," said Mitchell. "He really helped me to calm my nerves."

"We're really proud of Bill's winning spirit," said Claudio Garcia, global marketing officer for Berkley. "He gave it a great try."

Although Mitchell didn't win the $1 million prize, he didn't walk away empty handed. Berkley presented him with a $1,000 check and tackle valued at $500.

Enormous Fish Tank Adorns Arena Floor

For the first time at a CITGO Bassmaster Classic, BASS showcased a 1,000-gallon fish tank, complete with both large and smallmouth bass.

The bass were provided by Keystone Aquaculture, according to Chris Horton, associate director of BASS Conservation. "They will be returned to the hatchery following Sunday's final weigh-in," he said.

The fish were kept cool with a chilling unit. Additionally, a light source was fixed on the tank at all times so as not to scare the fish with the flashing lights in the arena.

The 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic received unprecedented coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 this year. A total of 12 hours of programming were devoted to Classic tournament coverage July 29-31.

BASS Communications -Jul. 31, 2005

+For more infomation, click www.bassmaster.com.

Posted by DODGE at July 31, 2005 05:13 PM in Tournament (BASS)