Bassmaster Classic represents return to normalcy for fishing industry, nationEvents . Featured Stories . News & Press Releases
FORT WORTH, Texas – From Media Day to the final weigh-in at Dickies Arena, there was a common theme throughout this year’s Bassmaster Classic: It was good to be back.
For reigning champion and Power-Pole angler Hank Cherry, it was even better to be back-to-back.
After the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdowns and travel restrictions wreaked havoc on the competitive fishing world, causing the cancellation or rescheduling of many of the events and tournaments, there was a sense of relief at this year’s Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. The sense of relief at returning to a sense of normalcy and looking forward to the future was a central theme of J.L. Marine vice president Robert Shamblin’s speech to open the festivities at Media Day, which was sponsored this year by Power-Pole. That set the tone of enthusiasm for the entire weekend.
“When that pandemic came through it really changed everyone’s lives. Everything was put on hold, even fishing,” Team Power-Pole member Drew Benton said. “Even when we did get back started we had little crowds, no crowds so this is our first really big event since the pandemic started so everyone is excited to be back here in Texas.”
“There’s a lot of momentum right now,” Power-Pole angler Buddy Gross said. “The sport is growing, the fans are growing and it is bringing a lot of light to this industry. I’m glad to be a part of it right now.”
After over a year of quarantines and social distancing, the crowds returned with a new level of enthusiasm everywhere from the launch on Ray Roberts Park to the Outdoors Expo at Roy Rogers Memorial Center.
“Having that normalcy where you can interact with people has been awesome,” Power-Pole title angler Corey Johnston said. “It’s the Bassmaster Classic and people want to have good time.”
Over 147,000 fans were estimated to have attended the various Classic events, the second-highest attendance in the history of the event behind a record 153,809 attendance mark set in 2019 in Knoxville, TN. The events are expected to have brought in around $25 million in economic impact to Fort Worth and the surrounding communities. Another 1.6 million fans tuned into the live broadcast of the event on Fox Sports TV and another 2.4 followed along online at bassmaster.com.
On the water, Cherry returned to competitive bass fishing’s biggest stage to hoist the Classic trophy for a second straight year, finishing the final day with a five-fish bag of 13-pounds, 1-ounce for a three-day total of 50-15. It was an outstanding showing for all of the Power-Pole anglers taking part in this year’s Classic with the top 16 finishers – and every angler in the Super Six – sporting Power-Pole anchors and CHARGE Power Management Stations on their boat.
“After a year and a half of everything being turned upside down, it feels good to be back,” said Brandon Card. “It feels as good as it always has been. The fishing’s good. The fans are back. Everything’s good.”
To see the final leaderboard, click here: https://www.bassmaster.com/results/tournaments/2021-academy-sports-outdoors-bassmaster-classic/1
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