CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If we’re really only as old as we feel, then William Pippen must be 21.

At 67, Pippen, is actually the oldest qualifier at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. An Arkansas resident, Pippen qualified through the 2004 CITGO BASS Federation Championship, representing the Central Division.

“I’ve had a great retirement,” Pippen said at Saturday’s pre-launch breakfast, served at 4 o’clock in the morning in the Charlotte Hilton. “Personally, it puts the icing on the cake for me. I would have never dreamed that (qualifying for the Classic) could happen.”

Pippen has been chronicled by USA Today and various other publications because of his age, but there is more to the man than just his age. He is a fantastic angler.

“I didn’t do my best yesterday,” he said of his sub-par performance on Day 1 at the Classic. “I had the bites, but I didn’t capitalize on it. I had a long conversation with myself and I think I got myself straightened out. I think it was really just nerves.

“I look for some changes today. This thing could completely swap ends. I can tell you all the fish I found up here pre-fishing, I haven’t found any of them, so I decided to just go fishing today, like I normally do.”

The ageless angler did feel the pain of the late nights and early mornings that Classic week brings and was none to happy to get out of bed at 3 a.m.

“I don’t know about you, but I wanted to throw that alarm clock through the wall this morning. Back home, I like to hear the rooster crow to wake me up, but I brought this little old rooster alarm clock and I didn’t like to hear that today.”

Pippen will likely have an easier time getting up if he has a better time on the water Saturday.

Launch for the CITGO Bassmaster Classic is daily from the Buster Boyd Access area off of highway 49 at 6:15 a.m. Weigh-ins are daily at the Charlotte Coliseum at 2:30 and more than 11 hours of television coverage begin with the telecast of Friday’s weigh-in at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and continue with a live breakfast show Saturday morning at 7 a.m. ET. A complete telecast schedule is online at

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, which includes the all-new 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.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

Local Sponsors include the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission, Visit Charlotte, the Auditorium-Coliseum-Convention Center Authority, the Rock Hill Sports and Tourism Council and Time Warner Cable.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit