CELEBRATION, Fla. — Buffalo, a city with strong sporting ties, will serve as host of the ninth Bassmaster Elite Series event of the season, the Empire Chase presented by Mahindra Tractors. Besides the most prestigious brand of tournament fishing, fans will have plenty to do and see during the event set for July 19-22 on Lake Erie.
While 108 of America’s best bass pros are out on Lake Erie and the Niagara River in search of the bass that will win the $100,000 top prize, fans will enjoy a variety of festivities in conjunction with the daily launches and weigh-ins at the city’s NFTA Boat Harbor.
“We’re really excited about having this level of tournament this year,” said Jay Josker of the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’ve got a ton of stuff planned to go along with the tournament.”
Local committee members expect as many as 3,000 spectators to attend the daily weigh-ins of the four-day event.
The community involvement begins Wednesday, July 18, with the Angler Alley festivities, which begin at 4 p.m. at Hamburg High School. It’s a great place to meet Elite Series pros and view their specially wrapped rigs.
The tournament begins Thursday with the initial launch at 5:30 a.m. ET., and the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. ET at NFTA Boat Harbor.
Friday will see plenty of pre-weigh-in action with a DockDogs competition beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a youth fishing clinic at 2 p.m.
DockDogs will compete again at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by a kids fishing derby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A Bassmaster CastingKids contest is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and musical entertainment from Grissom Hall will begin on the weigh-in stage at noon.
For Sunday’s final round, the DockDogs kick off at 9 a.m., and an adaptive fishing session also starts at 9 a.m. CastingKids is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with music from the group Big Leg Emma starting at noon, followed by a boat giveaway contest sponsored by WYRK Radio.
Also on hand will be a Bassmaster Outdoors Expo featuring interactive elements and youth activities. BASS sponsors Toyota, Purolator and Advance Auto Parts will be on hand.
Daily weigh-ins and launches will be held at NFTA Boat Harbor. Launches will begin at 5:30 a.m. ET and weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. ET.
Live, streaming video of the weigh-ins and real-time leaderboards can be accessed on http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com. On the final day of competition, http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com will provide updates throughout the day and preview the final-day weigh-in with Hooked Up hosted by Tommy Sanders and ESPN2 Outdoors personality Mark Zona.
Fishing fans can watch the on-the-water action on The Bassmasters on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, July 28.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Advance Auto Parts, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Evan Williams Bourbon, Ramada Worldwide and Costa Del Mar.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation 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 sanctions and stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the 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 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, call BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208. To join BASS, visit http://www.bassmaster.com or call 1-877-BASS-USA.