HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — FLW Outdoors and the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor’s Bureau announced today that Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs will once again play host to the $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy. The prestigious championship, which annually shines an international media spotlight on the nation’s best weekend anglers, will be held May 29-31.
Hot Springs has hosted a number of record-setting FLW Outdoors tournaments, including the historic 2007 Forrest Wood Cup where Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., became the sport’s first $1 million winner. The event drew a record crowd of more than 60,000 fans to Summit Arena and the Hot Springs Convention Center over the course of four days. Hot Springs also hosted the 2005 Forrest Wood Cup and the 2004, 2001 and 2000 All-American championships, each of which set fan attendance records.
“The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup was, without question, the most successful event we’ve ever held in the Hot Springs Convention Center and Summit Arena,” said Steve Arrison, executive director for the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “The people of Hot Springs have proven, time and again, that this is a bass-fishing town, and we are honored to once again play host to one of the sport’s premier events. Based on the high-quality, family-friendly events that FLW Outdoors always provides, and the tremendous response we’ve seen in the past, the 2008 All-American should be another record breaker.”
The Hot Springs Convention and Visitor’s Bureau seized the opportunity to host the 2008 All-American when unavoidable conflicts arose at the previously selected site in Hartford, Conn. Due to the conflict, Hartford opted to postpone hosting the All-American until a later date, leaving the door open for Hot Springs.
“Hartford has been a great host in years past, and we look forward to a return visit in the future, but we are thrilled to be returning to Hot Springs on the heels of such a tremendous showing at the Forrest Wood Cup last August,” said Charlie Evans, FLW Outdoors president and CEO. “The record attendance we had speaks volumes about the enthusiasm for bass fishing that fans have throughout the entire state of Arkansas.”
Like the Forrest Wood Cup, the All-American will feature a Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show with children’s rod and reel giveaways and a Ranger boat giveaway on the final day of competition.
The three-day show will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The Family Fun Zone and Outdoor Show will open at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30. On Saturday, May 31, the show will open at noon. Weigh-ins each day will be held in Summit Arena at 4 p.m., and the Ranger boat winner will be drawn from the crowd during the final weigh-in. Admission and all activities are free.
Prior to the event, Team Chevy will be in town for Chevy Pro Night from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28. The team, consisting of Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, Luke Clausen, Kim Stricker, Dion Hibdon, Sondra Rankin and David Fritts, has accumulated 10 tour-level victories and earnings of more than $3.5 million in FLW Outdoors competition alone. Additionally, Hibdon, Clausen and Fritts are three of only five anglers in the history of the sport to have won both the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic.
Coverage of the All-American will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing Oct. 26. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
Because BFL competitors are weekend anglers and not pros, the All-American and its lucrative cash awards and international media exposure present a unique opportunity for qualifiers who will be fishing for top awards of $140,000 in the Boater Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. Additionally, the winning boater and winning co-angler will advance to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where pros will compete for as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Each year more than 30,000 BFL anglers and 20,000 TBF anglers nationwide compete in the hope of becoming one of just 54 boaters and 54 co-anglers who qualify for the All-American and fish for a share of $1 million. But tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing, FLW Outdoors will be awarding the largest fantasy sports payout in history. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
As the nation’s leading weekend tournament circuit, the $8.8 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and its 28 divisions nationwide are widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. The BFL also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series, Wal-Mart FLW Series and ultimately the FLW Tour.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.
Total awards for 2008 are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.