Ultimate Bass

Elite Series heads to Iowa

Tommy Biffle talks about the riverThe second longest river in America has been waiting for BASS for a while. The Bassmaster Elite Series travels this month to the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa, for the Genuity River Rumble, marking the first Elite Series event for the state.

Tommy BiffleThe second longest river in America has been waiting for BASS for a while. The Bassmaster Elite Series travels this month to the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa, for the Genuity River Rumble, marking the first Elite Series event for the state.

During the 2008 season, the Elite Series had to cancel the River Rumble in Fort Madison because of flooding along the river that affected nearly a dozen states.

Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the River Rumble on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, June 20, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for all regular-season Elite events and the two postseason events will air live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com.

The river last was host to a Bassmaster Tour event in 2006, when Elite angler Darrin Schwenkbeck won a Bassmaster Northern Tour competition with a three-day total of 42 pounds, 12 ounces. The river has previously been the site of four other BASS pro tournaments since 1983, including the 1995 Top 100 event won by current Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla.

The Mississippi, which runs through or borders 10 states on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, has previously hosted BASS events across several states. The Elite pros will launch from Pool 19. Because water levels are always normal there while other parts of the river are at flood stage during rainy season, fish can spawn regularly in Pool 19.

Biffle, who won the 1995 event with a four-day total of 48 pounds, 8 ounces, isn’t sure whether the river will produce good-sized fish for weights similar to his winning total in 1995 or end up pushing overall weights lower.

“I would say it’ll take 15 to 18 pounds a day, maybe,” Biffle said. “It could be better than it used to be, but with the floods they’ve had it might take 45 pounds to win, it might be lower.”

Biffle added that he thought the Elite pros would go with typical river fishing, using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and some flipping.

The Genuity River Rumble includes a top prize of $100,000 and awards valuable points in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title race. With 1,298 points heading into this week’s Tennessee Triumph at Kentucky Lake out of Paris, Tenn. Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., leads the AOY standings. Trailing him are 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion and 2007 AOY Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., in second with 1293 points, and 2008 Classic champion Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, in third with 1240 points.

The top 12 pros in the AOY standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, when the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be determined. Toyota Trucks Championship Week is set for Sept. 10-18, and will be played out on two productive Alabama fisheries. The first of the two post-season tournaments will take place on Lake Jordan out of Wetumpka; the finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, is slated for the Alabama River from Montgomery.

In the race to qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-22 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala., Russ Lane of Prattville, Ala., and Gerald Swindle, of Warrior, Ala., are on the bubble. They are in a tie for 36th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 955 points. Another Alabaman, 2000 AOY Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, is right behind the pair, in 38th with 951 points. Two-time AOY and 1999 Bassmaster Classic winner Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C., trails by just a few more points, in 39th with 942 points. BASS qualifies the top 36 anglers in the AOY standings for the Classic, but Reese, the 2009 champion, will automatically qualify, thereby allowing the angler in 37th place to make the Classic cut as Reese is among the top 36 in AOY points.

Fans are encouraged to attend the Genuity River Rumble’s daily launches (7:15 a.m. CT) and weigh-ins (4 p.m.) Thursday through Sunday at Riverview Park, 902 4th St., Fort Madison. After Day Two’s competition Friday, the field will be cut to the top 50 anglers for Day Three. Only the top 12 will go on to compete in Day Four.

Other activities Saturday and Sunday at the River Rumble will begin at 1 p.m. CT at Riverview Park, featuring the popular Dog Training & Retriever Demonstrations Brought To You By SportDog; a children’s carnival with a bounce house and gummy-worm-eating contest; tethered balloon rides (for a nominal fee); and a live shooting of a cannon brought from Fort Mig.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, fans are invited to experience Bassmaster University, which includes the “Ask the Experts” session with Elite pros at 3 p.m.

Also on-site as part of the consumer expo Saturday and Sunday, Monsanto will bring its Mobile Technology Unit (MTU) to the Riverview Marina offering tours free of charge every 30 minutes. The Mobile Technology Unit is a unique traveling exhibit showcasing Monsanto’s latest advances in plant breeding and trait technology.

Furthermore, with its sponsorship of the event, Genuity will be making a donation based on the number of pounds of fish caught during the tournament to the local organization Community Services Food Bank. There will be a check presentation at the final weigh in on Sunday, June 14.

Sunday’s activities will include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. The show, which will air live at 3:30 p.m. ET on Bassmaster.com, will preview Sunday’s final weigh-in.

All events at the Genuity River Rumble are free and open to the public. The Elite Series regular season culminates with the August 13-16 Champion’s Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y. At Oneida, the lineup will be determined for the top 12 anglers who will compete in the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason and a shot at the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNMediaZone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video, audio clips and more.

The local sponsor of the River Rumble is the Fort Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Official sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards.

Supporting sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.

2009 TOYOTA TUNDRA BASSMASTER ANGLER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS

2009 Marine Formula STA-BIL Southern Challenge – Marine Formula STA-BIL Southern Challenge Pro Points After Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, Ala. Ending 05-10-2009, Day 4

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Place Name St Pts

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1 Kevin VanDam Mich. 1298
2 Skeet Reese Calif. 1293
3 Alton Jones Texas 1240
4 Aaron Martens Ala. 1224
5 Gary Klein Texas 1207
6 Todd Faircloth Texas 1178
7 Greg Hackney La. 1155
8 Mark Menendez Ky. 1152
9 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1116
10 James Niggemeyer Texas 1108
10 Kevin Short Ark. 1108

About BASS For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla. Media Contact: Doug Grassian; (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com



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