UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Bassmaster Elite Series will return to one of its most popular venues in history — Waddington, N.Y. — in 2017.
Elite Series tournaments at Waddington in 2013 and 2015 drew the largest crowds in Elite Series history, with attendance exceeding 30,000 both years to the St. Lawrence River village, which has a permanent population of 996.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the announcement during a luncheon following the annual “Governor’s Challenge” fishing tournament today, in which she, other elected officials from New York and some of the biggest names in professional fishing participated.
“New York is proud to once again be hosting this premier tournament, telegraphing the world-class fishing opportunities available across our state,” said Hochul. “Year after year, Governor Cuomo has grown tourism to record levels, proving that the Empire State is second to none for year-round recreation.”
“New York State is proud to continue our partnership with B.A.S.S. and ensure this elite fishing tournament series remains in our waters,” Cuomo said. “From Lake Placid’s fresh water, to the great St. Lawrence River and down to the Long Island coast, New York boasts world-class fishing experiences like none other, which makes this partnership a perfect fit. I encourage both New Yorkers and visitors to come and join the thousands of people who flock to Empire State waters every year and experience the 2017 Bassmasters first-hand.”
The Governor’s Challenge event was held today in conjunction with this week’s Busch Beer Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake, which concludes Sunday.
The Bassmaster Elite at Waddington will again feature a Governor’s Challenge, which is held annually to focus attention on the importance of fishing to New York’s tourism industry.
Elite Series tournaments have been alternating between Waddington and Union Springs since 2013, when Cuomo and I Love New York began recruiting the prestigious fishing events to highlight and promote the state’s many fishing and vacation opportunities.
“The support from Governor Cuomo and our partnership with I Love New York have enabled us to conduct some of our most successful and exciting Elite Series tournaments the past several years,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “In turn, through our media, including The Bassmasters TV program on ESPN2, we have been able to show the nation’s bass anglers the world-class fisheries available to them in New York. It is great to see a state that recognizes the value of sportfishing to its economy.
“We are thrilled that we will be able to take an Elite event back to Waddington, which is one of the most engaged and enthusiastic host communities we have ever had the fortune to work with. I know the Elite Series anglers will be especially glad to know that we’re going back to the St. Lawrence River.”
Two anglers who are most excited about returning to the St. Lawrence River are reigning GEICO Bassmaster Classic champion Edwin Evers, who won the 2015 Bassmaster Elite at Waddington, and Brandon Palaniuk, the popular pro from Idaho who won in 2013.
Dates of the four-day tournament next year will be announced later, in conjunction with the full Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, Akin said.
Hochul told the crowd of city, county and state officials that fishing is a vital contributor to the state’s tourism industry.
“New York State is home to some of the most scenic fishing destinations found across the entire U.S.,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Through initiatives led by Governor Cuomo, we are increasing opportunities for both residents and travelers to fish in New York’s vacation regions and building on the economic impact of tourism, which now exceeds more than $100 billion.”
The Cayuga Lake tournament this week is the seventh of 11 Elite Series events in 2016, including a first for competitive bass fishing — a professional tournament streamed entirely live.
The Bassmaster Elite Series Classic Bracket on the Niagara River July 19-22 will pit the Top 8 from the Cayuga Elite against one another for $50,000 in cash and a guaranteed invitation to the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
A tournament official in each angler’s boat will weigh each bass caught and immediately release it. Contestants will count their heaviest five bass as they compete head-to-head in bracket sessions, which are seeded based on the anglers’ standings at Cayuga. Fans will be able to follow the event in real time on Bassmaster LIVE, which will be streamed on Bassmaster.com.
Local sponsors for the Cayuga Elite are the Union Springs Chamber of Commerce and I Love New York.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.