Junior Bassmaster World Championship Will Kickoff 2005 Classic

KITTANNING, Pa. — For the second year in a row, the kickoff to the CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be the Junior Bassmaster World Championship. This time, the battle of the best young bass anglers will be fought July 23-25 on Pools 6 and 7 of the Allegheny River, near Kittanning, about 50 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh, the site of the 2005 Classic.

The event will be hosted by the Armstrong Borough and Armstrong County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Armstrong County is proud to be selected for the Junior Bassmaster World Championship as part of the BASS and ESPN Outdoors effort in the Pittsburgh region this year," said Jim Scahill, Armstrong County Commissioner.

Boys and girls are invited to participate in the World Championship after qualifying in a manner similar to the way Federation anglers qualify for the Classic — through local and state tournaments. The kids will come from 40 Federations, derived from 38 states, Canada and the District of Columbia.

The junior qualifiers are then divided in two age divisions (11-14 and 15-18), and compete for the bragging rights of Junior Bassmaster World Champion as well as prizes and $27,000 in scholarships.

The youths will be randomly matched and given the opportunity to practice their angling skills the day prior to competition as pros volunteer their time to guide, advise and drive the pair of young competitors around the tournament waters. During Monday's tournament, the pros will serve as observers and boat drivers, but will be unable to assist the competitors.

Waters are off-limits to the junior qualifiers a month before tournament time, beginning at midnight on June 23, 2005. The launch and weigh-in site will be held at John P. Murtha Park.

"I believe that our John P. Murtha Riverfront Park is the perfect setting for the Junior Bassmaster World Championship," said Gary Klingensmith, President of the Kittanning Borough Council.

Stacy Twiggs, BASS Youth Manager, agreed stating, "We're excited about bringing the Junior Bassmaster World Championship to Kittanning. The area is beautiful and the river should provide some great and challenging fishing for our young anglers."

Twiggs' optimism about the fishing is shared by someone who knows the waters well, Pennsylvania State BASS Federation President Mike Dunkerley, who said, "When I received confirmation that the Bassmaster Classic was coming to Pittsburgh I knew what this meant — we would get to host the Junior World Championship.

"The Pennsylvania Bass Federation, our state Youth Director and I are very excited about this event. Two champions from different age groups from every state Federation will be in Pittsburgh to crown the champions.

The angling experience promises to be educational as well as fun since the competitors will be on a large river system with locks and dams.

"These kids will not only see a lock and dam system," Dunkerley added, "but they'll have the opportunity to use it."

The on-the-water education doesn't end with the lock and dam system, either. Since these young anglers will be sharing a boat with the best adult bass anglers in the world, they're bound to pick up a few tips along the way.

"It's a unique opportunity for these junior anglers," Twiggs said. "They'll be sharing a boat with Anglers of the Year, Classic champions and the very best fishermen in the business. We couldn't provide such a great experience for these kids without the help of these great pros and the terrific support we get from our Federation members."

Pools 6 and 7 of the Allegheny River — where the Junior Bassmasters will be fishing — have a reputation for excellent bass fishing, but will not be part of Classic waters in 2005. The Junior Bassmaster World Championship will be held on waters that are off-limits in the Classic.

"We work to avoid any overlap of fishing waters between the Junior Bassmaster World Championship and the Classic," said BASS Tournament Director Trip Weldon. "In this case, we're fortunate to have two good fisheries so close together."

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).