Nine of the top bass anglers in the country will sign autographs for fans at three Houston-area Academy Sports + Outdoors Stores, Tuesday, Sept. 28, as part of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Fishing legend Kevin VanDam will appear at the Conroe store. Greg Hackney, Mark Davis, Scott Suggs and Ron Shuffield will appear at the Humble store. Mike McClelland, John Crews, Bryan Thrift and Gary Klein will appear at the Tomball location. All appearances will take place on Sept. 28 from 7 – 9 p.m.
The world championship of professional bass fishing, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) is a threeday tournament held on Lake Conroe, Oct. 1 – 3. The TTBC’s 50-angler field combines the top PAA anglers from the FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series presented by Carrot Stix.
VanDam is the all-time leading money winner in professional fishing with over $5 million in career earnings. In 2010, he earned his third Bassmaster Classic title and added his sixth Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year award.
An eight-year pro fishing veteran, Hackney was runner-up for the Bassmaster Angler of the Year title in 2004, his rookie season on the tour. He won the FLW Tour’s 2009 Forrest Wood Cup Championship in Pittsburgh.
Davis has been fishing professionally for 25 years. He won the Bassmaster Classic and Angler of the Year titles in 1995, the first time both titles have been won by the same angler.
Suggs became the first bass pro to claim a $1 million payday after winning the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup, the FLW Tour’s championship.
One of the true veterans of the sport, Shuffield has competed on the BASS and FLW circuits for a quarter-century. Shuffield has garnered more than $1.4 million in winnings, with seven career victories. McClelland has tallied six total wins en route to earning $1.3 million in his 14-year career.
A 10-year veteran, Crews got his Bassmaster Elite Series season off with a bang with a 1-ounce win over Skeet Reese on the California Delta last March. Crews stayed consistent all year and qualified for the Elite Series “post-season” in Alabama.
Thrift has seen success this year on the FLW Tour. Thrift captured an FLW Tour win on Lake Norman near Charlotte in spring 2010 and fished solidly all season to win his first FLW Tour Angler of the Year points championship.
Klein won the second B.A.S.S. tournament he ever entered and has qualified 28 times for the Bassmaster Classic. He won the Angler of the Year titles in 1989 and 1993.
Angler Appearances (All appearances take place Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 7 – 9 p.m.)
Conroe, Texas – Kevin VanDam
1414 Loop 336 West (at I-45)
Conroe, TX 77304
Humble, Texas – Greg Hackney, Mark Davis, Scott Suggs, Ron Shuffield
9805 FM 1960 E Bypass (next to Deerbrook Mall)
Humble, TX 77338
Tomball, Texas – Mike McCelland, John Crews, Bryan Thrift, Gary Klein
14221 FM 2920
Tomball, TX 77373
Tickets to the TTBC are $15 in advance and are available for Saturday and Sunday individually. The daily tickets include grounds access and admission to live concerts held at the event venue each day. Concerts and other ticketed events, including tournament weigh-ins, interactive expo areas, fireworks shows and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area will take place at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center’s Festival Grounds in Conroe. Children 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. All active military, police, fire and EMS personnel are free with valid identification. To purchase tickets, visit a customer service representative at any H-E-B store in Texas or any Houston area Academy Sports + Outdoors store. Fans can also buy online and print their tickets at home through the event website, www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic is an independent bass fishing world championship and benefits the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its youth outdoor recreation programs. Tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division. Title sponsor for the event is Toyota. Saturday presenting sponsor is Evan Williams Bourbon. Allstate Boat Insurance is presenting “Safety Weekend.” Corporate partners are the City of Conroe, Evinrude, Spaw Maxwell, Waste Management, U.S. Reel, CBS Radio and the San Jacinto River Authority. Corporate partnership opportunities are still available for 2010.
For additional information on the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.