Jan. 11-14 Tournament Broadcast on ESPN2, Sends 6 Anglers To CITGO Bassmaster Classic

CELEBRATION, Fla. – The Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg will host the 2006 BASS Federation Championship on Jan. 11-14, 2006 – a tournament with 54 invited anglers battling for $50,000 cash and six highly coveted berths to the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, BASS officials announced today.

Federation members from 47 state chapters and chapters in Japan, South Africa, Italy, Zimbabwe and Canada comprise the field. Doug Moore of Van Buren, Ark., the winner of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Grand National Championship, will compete along with Ed Cowan of Greeley, Pa., the 2005 Federation national champion.

The top angler receives $50,000 cash and will be named the Federation national champion. The top anglers from each of the six Federation divisions will go on to the Classic. Each also receives automatic qualification into their choice of the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Southern or Northern Tour. And, the angler with the heaviest catch of the day is eligible to compete in next year’s BUSCH Shootout.

“Anglers participating in the BASS Federation Championship have two goals,” said Gary Jones, director of the Federation and Angler Relations. “Winning the top cash prize and representing their state and division by moving forward to the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of bass fishing, to compete with the world’s most elite anglers.”

The no-entry-fee tournament will have a five-fish limit each day and will have no cut. Members of the Florida BASS Federation will act as drivers and observers. Those fans that can’t see the tournament live can watch coverage Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. EST on ESPN2.

BASS is no stranger to the Harris Chain. The organization has visited the 10-lake chain nine times, most recently for the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour in February when Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Fla., brought to the scales a 69-pound, 5-ounce winning sack. Anglers caught more than 1,000 fish in that three-day tournament weighing more than 2,500 pounds.

“The economic impact of BASS tournaments is so important to us,” said Bill Deese, director of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the local organizing committee and host sponsor. “Hotels, restaurants, shopping and just about everything see an increase in income on those days a BASS event is here. And the national television coverage on ESPN2 gives our fisheries exposure to the whole country. The fan and community support has been tremendous and BASS will be welcome with open arms.”

Anglers can take advantage of a nine-day practice period Dec. 1-9, 2005. Other than that window, the waters are off limits beginning Oct. 17. Daily launch and weigh-ins will take place at Venetian Gardens Community Center, 109 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, Fla., 34748.

Additionally, 96 contenders will participate in the CastingKids national semifinals on Jan. 13. The group will be whittled down to 12 young anglers who will compete at the CastingKids national finals at the Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.

2005 BASS Federation Championship Participants
Ed Cowan, Greeley, Pa.
Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala.
Dave Mehalechko, Glendale Ariz.
Zackary King, Clarksville, Ark.
Mark Schroeder, Red Bluff, Calif.
Joe Conway, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Greg Lownds, Danbury, Conn.
Greg Alexander, Hebron, Md.
Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla.
Gary Thompson, Hiram, Ga.
Dusty Womack, Caldwell, Idaho
Fred Myers, Bloomington, Ill.
Ron Nale, Milltown, Ind.
Steven Houdek, Calmar, Iowa
Kevin Miller, Augusta, Kansas
Bill Lowen, Cincinnatti, Ohio
James Kennedy, Lacombe, La.
Steven Harris, South China, Maine
Kevin Waterman, LaPlata, Md.
Roger Bogosh, Attleboro, Mass
Paul Soma, Traverse City, Mich.
Jim Severson, Breezy Point, Minn.
Randy Haynes, Starkville, Miss.
Luke Payne, Warsaw, Mo.
Curtis Spindler, Missoula, Mt.
Danny Shanz, Adamstown, Md.
Alex Franks, Boystown, Neb.
Scott Parker, Londonberry, N.H.
Bob Soley, Ewing, N.J.
Mark Adams, Edgewood, New Mexico
Matthew Sphar, Pavilion, N.Y.
Michael Williams, Leland, N.C.
Joe Hanning, Millfield, Ohio
Lee Sanders, Stillwater, Okla.
Garrett Green, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
Gary Yeley, Wilsonville. Ore.
Daniel Gray, Butler, Pa.
Doug Moore, Van Buren, Ark.
Joel St Germain, Cumberland. R.I.
Nelson Walker, Manning, S.C. 40
Gary Steichen, Woonsocket. S.D.
Steve Blocker, Harrogate, Tenn.
Tom Jessop, Dalhart, Texas
Rob Johnson, Murray, Utah
Sean Alvarez, Rutland, Vermont
Steve Roberts, Lynchburg, Va.
Marc Lippincott, Spokane, Wash.
Kevin Goff, New Martinsville, W.Va.
Jimmy Johnson, LaCrosse, Wisc.
Bill Golightly, Preston, Idaho
Kentarou Yamada , Japan
Anre De Villiers, South Africa
Alessandro Debbi, Italy
* A representative from Zimbabwe has not been chosen.