June 30, 2005
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Anglers from 32 states, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Italy and Spain have fished the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour all season for the right to compete in bass fishing's biggest event - the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship, presented by Castrol. Now the time has come for the top 48 pros in the world to square off in head-to-head competition July 13-16 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs for a shot at the sport's largest award - $500,000 cash.
Anglers who qualified for the tour's 10th anniversary championship following the six qualifying events are seeded according to their Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year rankings and No. 1 will compete against No. 48, No. 2 against No. 47, No. 3 against No. 46, etc. This unique format is sure to produce some exciting matches.
Championship contenders will take off from Fish Hatchery Ramp, located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs at 7 a.m. each day, and daily weigh-ins will be held at 5 p.m. in Summit Arena adjacent to the Hot Springs Convention Center. The championship's boat and outdoor show featuring more than 140 exhibits; fishing seminars by Hank Parker, Jimmy Houston, Guido Hibdon, Forrest L. Wood and other bass-fishing legends; and free daily giveaways runs 2 to 8 p.m. July 13 and 14, noon to 9 p.m. July 15, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 16. One lucky fan attending the final weigh-in Saturday, July 16 will win a new Ranger Z20 Comanche bass boat powered by Yamaha courtesy of Allen Tillery Chevrolet. Two qualifiers will be drawn for the boat giveaway during each day's 5 p.m. weigh-in, with the final two qualifiers and the eventual winner drawn Saturday, July 16. You must be present to qualify and win. Admission is free, and entry forms will be available at the outdoor show.
Thanks to growing sponsor support and incredible payouts that rival other professional sports like golf, tennis and NASCAR, competitive bass fishing is more popular than ever before. This popularity among the nation's 50 million fishing enthusiasts is expected to produce an economic impact approaching $50 million as thousands of fans, hundreds of sponsor representatives and support personnel, and hundreds of vendors visit the region for this one-of-a-kind event.
The Forrest L. Wood Championship will also produce significant worldwide media coverage. Last year's championship in Birmingham, Ala., produced articles with a total circulation exceeding 45 million copies. In terms of advertising dollars, that kind of exposure would cost more than $1.4 million. Hot Springs can expect similar exposure, which will further elevate the region's reputation as a bass-fishing destination.
The complete championship field and head-to-head pairings are posted at FLWOutdoors.com.
Following the two-day opening round, 24 pros advance to the semifinal round based on their two-day accumulated weight. Head-to-head competition continues in the one-day semifinal round, after which 12 pros advance to the final round. The 12 finalists start from zero and compete for one day to determine the winner of the sport's top award - $500,000. Even the pro who finishes 48th earns $15,000 just for qualifying.
Forty-eight co-anglers, who are paired with the pros and fish from the back deck, will compete for two days, after which the top 24 anglers based on accumulated weight advance to the third and final day of co-angler competition. Weights are cleared for the co-angler final round, and the winner takes home $25,000.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.
Wal-Mart and many of America's most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its eight tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the FLW Tour's title sponsor since 1997.
For more information on FLW Outdoors and its tournament circuits, visit FLWOutdoors.com. To plan your trip to Hot Springs for the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship and Outdoor Show July 13-16, visit Hotsprings.org.
2005 FLW Championship details
2005 FLW Championship pro field
2005 FLW Championship co-angler field