Everyone’s a winner on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and Elite 50 Series.
Here’s how the programs work:
CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year
The CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year title is awarded to the Tour angler who accumulates the most points through high finishes over the course of the six event Tour season. In addition to earning one of the most coveted trophies in professional fishing, the Angler of the Year also takes home a check from CITGO in the amount of $100,000.
But that’s just a third of the prize money. The second place angler will get a check for $30,000 and the third place finisher gets $20,000. The rest of the prize money goes to anglers finishing fourth through 25th.
Last year’s Angler of the Year was Gerald Swindle of Hayden, Ala.
Toyota Horizon Award
The Toyota Horizon Award rewards the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour angler who posts the greatest improvement from the 2004 season. The winning angler will receive a check for $25,000.
The 2004 Horizon Award went to South Carolina pro Davy Hite, who came off a disappointing 2003 season – he finished in 163rd place – to finish 12th in 2004.
Toyota Rookie of the Year Award
First-time anglers on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour vie for the Toyota Rookie of the Year Award, which goes to the new angler who finishes highest in the Angler of the Year points standings. Along with the award comes a check from Toyota in the amount of $10,000.
In 2004, Louisiana’s Greg Hackney ran away with the Rookie of the Year Award, nearly claiming the Angler of the Year title in the process. In his first year on the Tour, Hackney fell just three points short of Gerald Swindle in the Angler of the Year race.
With a total prize purse of $200,000, the Busch Shootout is a special tournament held on a mystery lake featuring a total of 13 anglers from the Tour and Elite 50 as well as the Federation Championship, the CITGO Open Championship and the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
The combined Tour and Elite 50 seasons total 40 competition days. For each of those days, Busch awards $1,000 to the angler who brings in the heaviest catch. The 10 anglers who bring in the 10 heaviest catches of the Tour and Elite 50 seasons are invited to the Busch Shootout along with the angler who bags the heaviest catch at the Federation Championship, the CITGO Open Championship and the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
At the Busch Shootout, each of the anglers collects a check for $5,000 while the angler who brings in the biggest catch earns an additional $100,000.
In 2004, the inaugural Busch Shootout was held on the James River in Virginia and top honors went to Arizona’s John Murray, who qualified for the event while winning the 2003 Open Championship.
Purolator Big Bass Award
The Purolator Big Bass Award goes to the angler who catches the biggest bass during each day of a BASS event. One the pro side, the award is worth $1,000 each day. The amateur division big bass award is $500 each day.
The pro angler who catches the biggest bass of the tournament receives an additional $1,000.
Purolator Big Bass Fan Contest
At each of the 10 Tour and Elite 50 events, fans can register at the Purolator exhibit during Expo hours for a chance to win $1,000.
About an hour before the final weigh-in, BASS and Purolator will draw six fan names from the group of registrants. Each of the fans is then “matched” with one of the six anglers remaining in the tournament.
The fan paired with the angler who catches the Purolator Big Bass of the Day will win $1,000!
Protected by Purolator!
Purolator will pay BASS pros for making their tow vehicle “Protected by Purolator!”
To participate, a pro must purchase the Purolator oil and air filter that fits his tow vehicle, install them before hitting the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and Elite 50 series and then bring the receipts to tournament registration prior to the Tour opener at Lake Tohopekaliga for an on-the-spot reimbursement of up to $40!
When they are reimbursed, competitors will be given a “Protected by Purolator” decal for their vehicle. Then, if they win the Purolator Big Bass Award on any day during the 10 CITGO Bassmaster Tour or Elite 50 events and are protected by Purolator, they’ll receive an additional $1,000.
Bass Pro Shops Just4 Kids Sweepstakes
At each Tour and Elite 50 tournament, children between the ages of 8 and 18 can register during Expo hours at the Bass Pro Shops tent for a chance to win a nine-foot Pond Prowler Bass Boat, a MotorGuide trolling motor, a Lowrance portable depth finder, a Bass Pro Shops inflatable life vest, an Abu Garcia rod and reel and a BASS tackle bag full of goodies.
Shortly before the final weigh-in, BASS will draw a single winner for the entire prize package. The child and his or her parent or guardian must be present to win.
Mercury Big Catch Giveaway
Fans should be sure to visit the Triton and Mercury displays during Expo hours at Tour and Elite 50 events to register for the Mercury Big Catch Giveaway. Entries are available at both sites and must be validated before they are placed in the drawing.
The prizes certainly earn the name “Big Catch.” They include (1) a 2005 Mercury-wrapped Triton TR21X boat and trailer used on the Tour valued at $35,000, (2) a 2005 Mercury-wrapped Toyota Tundra double cab 4X4 truck used on the Tour valued at $26,000, (3) a High Hook Fishing Tours fantasy trip for two to Brazil valued at $15,000, (4) a day of fishing with 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle that includes $1,000 worth of tackle from Berkley and Abu Garcia and (5) a MotorGuide Tour TR82 digital trolling motor worth $800.
At each event, a finalist will be drawn from all registrants. The finalist, who must be present to win, will receive an instant winner package valued at $450 consisting of a Lowrance iFinder H2O, an Abu Garcia rod and reel and assorted Berkley tackle.
The 10 finalists will each be eligible for one of the five “Big Catch” prizes to be given away on July 30 at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh.
CITGO Hit the Trail Sweepstakes
At each of the Tour and Elite 50 events during Expo hours, fans can register for the CITGO Hit the Trail Sweepstakes and a chance to win a 2005 Toyota Tundra pickup truck and 2005 Triton TR21X bass boat equipped with a 2005 Mercury 225 OptiMax, Lowrance electronics and a MotorGuide Tour trolling motor.
In addition, 1,000 CITGO Cash Cards will be given to fans at each of the 10 events. The cards carry a dollar value between $1 and $100.
Berkley/Abu Garcia Giveaways
Fans can register at the Berkley exhibit for a daily drawing for an Abu Garcia rod and reel and Berkley lure pack.
BASS offers daily drawings on Expo days for a Bassmaster rod and reel, tackle box and lure packs.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.