BASS Reporter’s Notebook: Bassmaster Classic Lands First Nomination for a Sports Emmy; ESPN Earns 54 Nominations

Category: press release

 Apr 7th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 7th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BASS Reporter’s Notebook: Bassmaster Classic Lands First Nomination for a Sports Emmy; ESPN Earns 54 Nominations

The sport of professional bass fishing hit another high mark on its growth chart last week when the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on ESPN2 received a nomination for a Sports Emmy Award.

It was the first Sports Emmy nomination for a Bassmaster Classic, and one of 54 received this year by ESPN, Inc.

The 30th Annual Sports Emmy Awards, presented April 27 by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, recognizes excellence in sports television programming within 32 categories. The winners will be honored at Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center in New York City.

“What a tremendous honor to receive a nomination from such a respected organization,” said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager, ESPN Outdoors and BASS. “It’s certainly confirmation that the Bassmaster Classic continues to deliver compelling content across all of our multimedia platforms.”

The 2008 Classic programming on ESPN2 was nominated in the Outstanding Live Event Turnaround category. Past winners in that category include ABC in 2007 for its Best of Winter X Games Nine produced by ESPN Productions.

Programming of the 2008 Classic on Lake Hartwell out of Greenville, S.C., was created by JM Associates/Career Sports Entertainment for ESPN2. During the championship fishing event, ESPN2 presented 11 hours of programming, including two-hour shows on Saturday and Sunday within hours of each day’s competition.

The 54 nominations ESPN, Inc. racked up last week were the most received by any submitting company. It marked the eighth time in nine years that ESPN, Inc., garnered the highest number of nominations.

AND ALONG COMES ALTON: With three Bassmaster Elite Series events completed, more than one third of the eight-event regular season is history. That means the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race is taking shape.

The AOY leader this week, Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, is proof once again of how the title race rewards consistency rather than occasional wins. The 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion is leading with his total of 813 points by 39 points, thanks to a second-place finish at Lake Amistad, a 10th at Lake Dardanelle and a 14th at last week’s tournament on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake.

Just 39 points out of first, Stephen Browning (774 points) of Hot Springs, Ark., is Jones’ closest challenger, at least this week. Browning logged a fourth, 23rd and 10th, respectively, in the first three Elite events.

The March 26-29 Toyota Trucks Diamond Drive winner, Mark Menendez of Paducah, Ky., is third in points with 761.

What a difference a win makes: Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., shot from 38th to 11th place in the AOY standings after taking the Elite win last Sunday on Wheeler.

Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C., winner of the March 12-15 season opener, is in 14th place.

And the 2008 AOY, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who was the 2009 AOY points leader March 29 after the Diamond Drive event? Even after a disappointing performance and a bout with the flu at Wheeler, he’s in fifth place.

The Elite anglers keep their points positions until the April 26 conclusion of the Advance Auto Parts Blue Ridge Brawl, the April 23-26 tournament on Smith Mountain Lake out of Moneta, Va.

The AOY title carries a $200,000 prize. The top 36 in points at season’s end will qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

BLOGGER BARONE BRINGS IT HOME: Don Barone, blogger extraordinaire for Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, has won four awards from the New England Outdoor Writers Association.

He twice took first place in the annual juried awards program. One was in the Best Humor category for a piece on ESPNOutdoors.com, “The Honey Wagon Story.” The other first was for “Christmas for Javier,” which appeared on Bassmaster.com. It took top honors in the Best Article category.

Barone also won two second-place awards. One, in the Best Article competition, was for “The Coon Dog Cemetery,” which ran on ESPNOutdoors.com. The other award-winner, a Bassmaster.com effort titled “Paths,” took honors in the Best Column category.

Barone said he missed the April 4 awards presentation in Concord, Mass., because he was in Decatur, Ala., to write about a Bassmaster Elite Series event, the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel. The writers group tracked him down to let him know he’d been selected for not just one, but for four awards.

“I was shocked and humbled at the same time,” Barone said. “I’ve only been doing this for about a year-and-a-half. They told me they don’t have an Internet section, so they put me in the newspaper category, so I was up against (major) newspapers for the awards.”

Barone’s well-observed stories of the world of outdoor sports have been appearing on Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com since late 2007.

Before he began “writing about the outside” (as he puts it) and following the tournament trail from his trademark hula-girl-on-board vehicle, Barone was a feature producer for ESPN for 15 years. He began writing for ESPN.com and ESPN Page 2 at the end of his ESPN tenure.

Would he have picked any of the same four pieces as his best work – or is there another favorite in his portfolio?

“The Michele Short story, ‘Firefly Nights,’ was as good as the Javier story, they were the same kind of heartfelt story,” he said. “It’s a tough question, because my favorite is always my last story.”

FEDERATION NATION LOOKS TO CLASSIC: The first of six 2009 BASS Federation Nation Divisionals wrapped up last weekend in North Carolina on Gaston Lake. The result qualified seven amateur anglers for the BASS Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats, set for Oct. 28-30 on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Tavares, Fla.

Often referred to as “the Nationals” by Federation Nation members, the championship is the road to the 2010 Bassmaster Classic. The outcome of the three-day competition will determine which six amateur anglers will qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

UNFORGETTABLE: “It was the best day of fishing that I have ever had in my entire life. I’ve been bonefishing for 12 years and I have never approached what happened today.” – Newly indoctrinated Redbone competitor Rod Jack, at the season opener of the ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Series in the Bahamas, where he and his team hooked 44 bonefish on a fly in one day

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.


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