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BREAKING: 8-12-08 ESPN Announces 36 Anglers for 2009 Bassmaster Classic In Shreveport
Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008 8:46pm
SHREVEPORT, LA (By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, Talk of the Town) BREAKING SPORTS 11:15pm 8-12-08 The first 36 qualifying anglers for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic have been announced by ESPN.

Click here to listen as ESPN Outdoors BASS Communications Director Anthony Bartkowski talks with Tom Pace from 'The Talk of the Town." 

With the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series season in the books, the brunt of the qualifying spots for both the 2009 Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series have been determined. Heading into the final Elite event of the season on New York’s Oneida Lake, many anglers were in precarious positions in the qualifying races.

After today, 36 anglers were able to punch their tickets to the 2009 Bassmaster Classic and 84 received qualifying berths into the Elite Series. Anglers qualify based on their ranking in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

After finishing in last place at the first Bassmaster Elite Series event on Florida’s Lake Toho, Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., made a furious comeback and is the lone angler thus far to represent Louisiana in the Classic field.

“I felt like I won a tournament,” said Hackney, who finished 36th in the AOY standings. “It was nice to rally and finish well and make the Classic in my homestate. It was a lot of pressure after that first tournament.”

Joining the 36 Elite qualifiers in the Classic will be six Federation Nation anglers who will qualify via the Federation Nation National Championship (Nov. 8-10); three each from the Bassmaster Southern and Northern Opens; the winner of the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship Operated by American Bass Anglers and Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, who automatically qualifies on the strength of his 2008 Classic victory.

Also, this year, for the first time in BASS history, the Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Angler of the Year will qualify for the Classic. That berth will be determined after the completion of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, set for Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton on Oct. 23-25.

In the case of anglers who qualify through two avenues, BASS will work down the Angler of the Year rankings.
The 84 Elite Series qualifiers will set the majority of next year’s field. Joining them will be the top 10 points leaders from the Bassmaster Southern and Central Opens. The winner of the Federation Nation Championship also is invited to the Elite Series along with the previous three years of Bassmaster Classic champions and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year winners.

Elite anglers who are in good standing can also qualify by using one of three exemptions. Anglers who have participated in 10 or more Bassmaster Classics, won a Bassmaster Classic or won a Bassmaster Angler of the Year title can choose to use one exemption to gain entry into the Elites.

The full list of qualifiers can be found below.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Evan Williams Bourbon, Longhorn, OPTIMA Batteries, Triton Boats, Costa Del Mar, MotorGuide and Ramada Worldwide.

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

About BASS
For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media 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 Bassmaster.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, Women's Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla

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