The Bassmaster Classic is going “Upcountry” in 2015.
Greenville and Lake Hartwell, located in the upstate region of South Carolina popularly known as The Upcountry, have been selected as the sites for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. and South Carolina officials, including Gov. Nikki R. Haley, made the announcement today in Greenville.
Feb. 20-22 will be the competition dates for the field of anglers who qualify for the world championship through various Bassmaster competitions throughout 2014.
A new, multi-million-dollar launch facility, Green Pond, has been constructed near Anderson, S.C., for the anglers’ daily takeoffs. They’ll bring their catches to Greenville for weigh-ins at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, recognized by the entertainment industry as one of the Top 50 venues in the world. The Bassmaster Classic Expo, the consumer show held concurrently with the competition days, will be at the 280,000-square-foot TD Convention Center in Greenville.
“We are thrilled that the Bassmaster Classic has chosen to return to South Carolina and selected Greenville for their 2015 location,” said Haley. “It’s truly a great a day in South Carolina, and now millions of people will get to see why our beautiful state continues to attract topnotch sporting events.”
“B.A.S.S. is delighted to be returning to Lake Hartwell and Greenville,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S. “We will be working closely with our South Carolina partners over the next year to be sure Classic 2015 will be the first-class sporting event B.A.S.S. members and fishing fans worldwide have come to expect.”
B.A.S.S last brought the Classic to Greenville and Lake Hartwell in February 2008. The lake produced what was then the third-largest winning weight for a Classic: 49 pounds, 7 ounces. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Alton Jones of Texas was the author of that mark. Jones bested the 44-5 posted by Cliff Pace, then a 25-year-old, up-and-coming Elite pro from Mississippi. Pace went on to become a Classic champ himself in 2013.
Besides Gov. Haley, South Carolina officials on hand for Thursday’s announcement were representatives from South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT); VisitGreenvilleSC; VisitAnderson; the City of Greenville, Greenville County; and Anderson County.
“We are thrilled that the Bassmaster Classic has chosen to return in 2015. The world championship of bass fishing recognizes the great combination of Lake Hartwell and facilities in Anderson and Greenville,” said Chris Stone, president of VisitGreenvilleSC.
Stone noted that in 2008, more than 75,000 people attended the Classic in Greenville over three days.
“We look forward to an even larger event in 2015, which will have tremendous impact on the local economy, with a projected impact of more than $17 million in revenue to the Upstate,” Stone said.
Said Duane Parrish, SCPRT director: “SCPRT is very proud that Greenville has been chosen as the host site for the Bassmaster Classic in 2015. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and efforts of VisitGreenvilleSC and VisitAnderson working together with the City of Greenville, Greenville County and Anderson County to once again host this premiere event, and is further proof of South Carolina’s growing reputation as a top destination for sports tourism.”
As one of the largest lakes in the Southeast, Hartwell attracts millions of visitors every year, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake. Bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers, the impoundment stretches 49 miles up the Tugaloo and 45 miles up the Seneca at normal pool elevation. Hartwell comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles, making it an ideal challenge for Classic anglers. Largemouth bass are abundant; the lake also holds spotted bass.
“There couldn’t be a better location than Lake Hartwell for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic,” said Jennifer Norman, executive director of VisitAnderson. “With Green Pond, our new $2.6 million mega-ramp facility, our convenient location and our amazing bass fishing, the Bassmaster Classic will showcase all that our lake has to offer.”
Logo courtesy Bassmaster