Tour Tahlequah brings Bassmaster College Series to town
TNE Editor
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Tour Tahlequah brings Bassmaster College Series to town

Published 2/13/18

Mercedes Goins

Bassmaster has officially announced the 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops will take place in Tahlequah.

Tour Tahlequah, more formally known as the Tahlequah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the local sponsor and will partner with Northeastern State University, Cherokee Nation and local businesses to bring the college fishing tournament to Lake Tenkiller and the city of Tahlequah July 19-21, 2018.

“What an honor it is to have the city of Tahlequah chosen for the 2018 Bassmaster Collegiate Fishing Tournament,” said Aubrey Valdez, Tour Tahlequah assistant director. “We are gearing up for this event and are excited to show our Oklahoma hospitality to fishermen and spectators. We already have an enormous amount of support from Northeastern State University, Cherokee Nation, city officials and many others and know July will be here in a flash. We hope to make this a memorable occasion for everyone involved.”

Presented by Bass Pro Shops, the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship provides the opportunity for college anglers from across the country to compete at a national level. Anglers participating in the championship tournament must first qualify by competing in qualifying tournaments during the 2017-2018 season. At the national championship, one college angler will earn a berth in the biggest tournament in bass fishing: the Bassmaster Classic.

“Competing in a national championship tournament is the ultimate goal,” said Tyler Winn, Tahlequah sophomore and NSU fishing team member. “To think this tournament will be here in Tahlequah is unreal. Anglers from all over the country will fish on the lake I’ve grown up on.”

The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship is a week-long event. Anglers arrive on Sunday of tournament week, practicing the mornings of Monday through Wednesday and competing Thursday through Saturday. While the anglers are on the water, tournament sponsors and staff collaborate to present a series of events for the anglers, fans and community.

Event attendance averages 1,000-1,500 spectators each day with weigh-in attendance reaching more than 3,000. Weigh-ins are broadcasted live on each day. The tournament week is captured and aired at a later date on ESPNU.

A small, rural location, Tahlequah offers visitors the opportunity to engage in outdoor recreational activities while also being able to learn about Cherokee culture and shop and dine at locally-owned businesses.

Jon James, NSU alumnus, is the field promotions manager for Dynamic Sponsorships. He played a key role in making Tahlequah a location to be considered for the national tournament. During James’ time as a student, the staff at NSU instilled confidence in him and pushed him to succeed.

“NSU played a vital role in helping me grow as a person and bringing the tournament to Tahlequah is a way to say thank you,” said James. “Tahlequah is a wonderful tourist destination and has beautiful fishery in Lake Tenkiller. This is a great place to take a family, and there aren’t many places that have a small town feel but still have the accommodations and resources to support an event like this.”

During the tournament, anglers will fish on Lake Tenkiller. However, the key events of the week will primarily take place at NSU. Events including the angler kick-off banquet, angler speaker seminar, sponsor outdoor expo and weigh-ins will occur on the university campus with Seminary Hall as an iconic backdrop. NSU will also be home to the estimated 90 teams of college anglers during their time in Tahlequah.

“In order to successfully serve as the host for these upcoming events, there will be a great deal of coordination between myself and Facilities Management, Parking Services, Housing & Residence Life, Sodexo and University Police - just to name a few,” said Kirsti Cook, NSU Conferences and Marketing assistant director. “I believe the exposure our community will receive from hosting this event will be immeasurable to NSU and the Tahlequah community. We are confident that B.A.S.S. will feel at home here at NSU and the championship tournament will be widely successful.”

Currently five short months out from the event, Tour Tahlequah is busy forming partnerships and a committee to take on this large-scale event.

For more information, call Tour Tahlequah at 918-456-3742.

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