CELEBRATION, Fla. — Mercury College B.A.S.S., the premier college circuit of tournament anglers, announces its schedule and locations for the 2012 season. North to south, east to west, the circuit will cover regions that allow every style of angler to showcase his or her skills on the water.
“When we created Mercury College B.A.S.S. in 2006, there was one event. We grew the property to three events in 2008. Now we are boasting more than seven events that are created and run by us. Not to mention the fact that we will be placing a Mercury College B.A.S.S. angler in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic,” said Hank Weldon, Mercury College B.A.S.S. director.
The 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Feb. 24-26, will welcome the first-ever collegiate-level angler, Stephen F. Austin University student Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill, Texas, to compete in the Bassmaster Classic, commonly known as the Super Bowl of bass fishing. Upshaw qualified for the Classic by winning the 2011 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship in July. He and his teammate, Ryan Watkins, represented Stephen F. Austin University and took home the national title. The next day, they fished against each other for a chance to compete in the Classic.
The first stop of the 2012 tour, at Lake Guntersville in Alabama, will be the South Super Regional, March 9-10. The following month, the tour moves to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for the April 13-14 East Super Regional.
“As a part of the team that helps bring tournaments to Smith Mountain Lake, Franklin County is extremely excited about the opportunity of hosting this tour. Fishing is big in southwest Virginia, but support of our college and university teams is even bigger. This tournament will be a tremendous plus to our community!” said Debra H. Weir, tourism/special events manager for Franklin County Commerce & Leisure Services.
The tour then heads to Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma on May 11-12 for the third stop.
“The mayor and I are very pleased you have picked Wagoner for the college tournament for 2012. It really helps the economic impact to our community, and the anglers are so friendly and show their appreciation of all we do to make them feel welcome,” said Cyrina Lang, tournament and tourism director, Wagoner Area Chamber of Commerce.
On the heels of the Fort Gibson tournament, the Midwest Super Regional takes place the following week, May 18-19 on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
“La Crosse, Wisconsin, is one of the largest cities on the upper Mississippi River, and we are proud to host the College B.A.S.S. series next May. Our vibrant community is home to three institutions of higher learning, which fits well with this event,” said Dave Clements, executive director of the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The location and date of the fifth event, the Western Wildcard, are still to be determined. All five of these events are qualifying events in which each qualifying school will send at least one boat to the championship tournament, set for July 25-27 on a fishery in Little Rock, Ark. The following two days, July 28-29, will be spent on a “Mystery Lake” in Little Rock for the Bassmaster Classic Bracket.
“We wanted to set a schedule that placed us at premier locations at the best time of the year for that location. I feel like we achieved that. It will be fun to watch what our anglers can do at these stops in 2012,” said Weldon.
To learn more about Mercury College B.A.S.S. and to enroll collegiate teams, go to www.bassmaster.com/college.
2012 Mercury College B.A.S.S. Schedule and Locations:
Tournament Dates/Location Host Venue
South Super Regional March 9-10 Lake Guntersville Guntersville, Ala.
East Super Regional April 13-14 Smith Mountain Lake Franklin County, Va.
Central Super Regional May 11-12 Fort Gibson Lake Wagoner, Okla.
Midwest Super Regional May 18-19 Mississippi River La Crosse, Wis.
Western Wildcard TBA TBA
National Championship July 25–27 TBA Little Rock, Ark.
Bassmaster Classic Bracket July 28-29 Mystery Little Rock, Ark.
Mercury College B.A.S.S. Official Sponsors: Mercury, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Falcon Rods, Ardent Reels
For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.