As the sport's premier event, the new championship will pit top anglers from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, The Bass Federation and Ranger owners' tournaments in head-to-head competition for a top pro award of $1 million cash. Top anglers from the new Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail will also compete in the championship's Co-angler Division.
The Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission as well as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism will be hosting the event, which will launch out of Brady Mountain Marina located on Caribbean Road in Royal, Ark.
Hot Springs isn't a new venue for FLW Outdoors' championship tournaments. The 2005 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship and Outdoor Show was held on Lake Hamilton, a sister lake to Lake Ouachita, and drew a record crowd of 40,671 fans to the Hot Springs Convention Center and Summit Arena over the course of four days. Those fans ultimately witnessed Hot Springs resident and bass-fishing legend George Cochran reel in what was, at the time, bass fishing's most lucrative prize, $500,000.
"The 2005 FLW Tour Championship was by far the largest and most successful event we've ever held in the Hot Springs Convention Center since the construction of the Summit Arena in 2003," said Steve Arrison, executive director for the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "With the top prize doubled and anglers qualifying from all levels of FLW Outdoors competition, I expect the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup to really be something special. Hot Springs is a bass-fishing town situated along some fantastic lakes and full of fishing fans. There's no better place to hold the most lucrative event in the history of the sport."
The no-entry-fee Forrest Wood Cup will indeed represent something special in the sport of bass fishing. For the first time, anglers from the weekend level of the BFL to the top level of the FLW Tour will have the opportunity to compete for bass fishing's first $1 million prize, which will go to the winner if the winner is running a Ranger boat. A guaranteed first prize of $500,000 will be awarded to the winner regardless of boat brand.
In addition to the tournament and the international media coverage it will receive, a world-class outdoor show with hundreds of exhibits and activities for children will be held at the convention center. Visitors from around the globe will not only catch the world's best bass-fishing action, they'll also receive great buys on everything from crankbaits to bass boats at the outdoor show.
The Forrest Wood Cup will pit top anglers from the 2007 FLW Tour against top anglers from the 2006 FLW Series, Stren Series, the BFL All-American champion and The Bass Federation national champion plus Ranger and Stratos owners' tournaments. All told, 81 pros and 81 co-anglers will qualify for the 2007 event.
"We couldn't be happier about returning to Hot Springs for the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup," said Charlie Evans, FLW Outdoors president and CEO. "The record attendance we had not only at the 2005 FLW Tour Championship and Outdoor Show but also at the 2004 All-American in Hot Springs speaks volumes about the enthusiasm for bass fishing that fans have throughout the state and the entire region."
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast to 78 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than 300 million households in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, along with Canada, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 service members stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard naval ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.7 million through 241 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.