Bassmaster Classic notebook: Get there early
BY ERIC BAILEY & KELLY BOSTIAN World Sports Writers
Sunday, February 24, 2013
2/24/13 at 5:46 AM
Watch videos and view slideshows: Watch a timelapse video of the launch. See a slideshow from the first day, and much more.
Follow along during the event: See unofficial estimates throughout Saturday
Tour the lake: Using Google Earth, World outdoors writer Kelly Bostian gives you a tour of Grand Lake.
Anatomy of a bass boat: We have an interactive map detailing the equipment on a bass boat.
The BOK Center hit attendance capacity during Saturday's weigh-in following competition at the Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
About 3:45 p.m. (45 minutes after the arena opened) fans were halted at the BOK Center main doors. A line formed and visitors would be allowed inside as others left the arena.
"The venue informed us we were in a capacity situation," said Eric Lopez, the tournament's director of operations. "We went into a one-in, one-out situation."
The venue's setup for the weigh-in has a capacity of 12,000. But attendance (which hasn't been officially announced) is expected to be higher than that because of the rotating fans that watched the event.
"We've been in markets where we've been in this situation," Lopez said. "It's not uncommon for us to do this. It doesn't happen in every city and, when it does, it's usually on the final day. It's rare to see it on a Saturday, but it has happened before.
"That's why we're very excited about the crowd turnout at both facilities."
Perhaps the best advice for Sunday - get here early. The BOK Center's doors open at 3 p.m. and admission is free.
"Based on what we've seen the last two days, get out as early as you possibly can," Lopez said. "We do ask people to be patient with us. Historically, we've had people line up in advance of the doors opening."
Folds of Honor has new partner in BASS: The "charity of choice" for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, has entered into a longer-term relationship with the fishing organization.
"We are officially partners, which is great," said Folds of Honor founder Dan Rooney. "We are excited to look deeper into ways to align with BASS beyond the Classic."
Folds of Honor provides scholarships to dependents of veterans killed or disabled in Iraq or Afghanistan and has helped "just under 4,000" recipients in each of the 50 states, Rooney said.
Folds of Honor and BASS fit well together, Rooney said. "These anglers and Bassmaster, they are true, red-blooded, flag-waving patriotic Americans. We couldn't have asked for a warmer reception on Friday."
On Friday, the charity was featured and a "bucket passing" fundraiser brought in $10,000, Rooney said.
Prior to Sunday's weigh-in, at about 4:15 p.m., the charity will be profiled and a bucket will be passed again for donations.
"We changed two lives Friday," Rooney said. "That's two scholarships. They are $5,000 apiece. On Sunday with a packed house maybe we can change four more."
Countdown is on: Boyd Duckett is a former Bassmaster Classic champion, winning in 2007. A veteran of six Classics, he knows how important it is to fish hard into Sunday's final minutes.
"The last 30 minutes of a Classic is like one minute left on the clock in basketball," said Duckett. "You get that feeling where you know it is the end and you have to live through it for 30 minutes ... it's just mentally demanding."
Proud Oklahoman: Talala's Edwin Evers caught four fish (9-10) on Saturday to end in 20th place (26-7) following 16 hours of fishing.
He is proud of the way his state has welcomed the anglers this weekend.
"I wish we had every Bassmaster Classic in Oklahoma," Evers said. "Everyone on the water was phenomenal."
Better day: Tommy Biffle boated 13-15 on Saturday to move into 25th place and qualify for Sunday's final day of competition by one ounce. His two-day total was just ahead of Brent Chapman (25-14).
"I had a real good practice and yesterday I was real disappointed," said the Wagoner native. "I was getting 40-50 bites a day and catching some good fish (at practice), but I guess the cold water slowed them down a lot.
"I fished real slow in the same area and had a better day."
Rougher day: Jason Christie moved up one place to fifth on Saturday.
He registered 12-9 on Saturday to bring his total to 31-5 for the weekend. He is within 11-16 of first place.
"One thing about Grand Lake is, as long as you are within six or seven pounds, it's possible," Christie said. "There's a 25-pound sack out there ..."
The Park Hill native will have to make up a large deficit to become the first Classic winner in his home state since Duckett won on Lay Lake in Alabama in 2007.
Making limits: Thirty-seven anglers reached a limit of five fish on Saturday, equaling the total following Friday's competition.
BASS officials reported that 100 percent of Friday's fish were returned to Grand Lake alive.