FLIPPIN, Ark. (May 25, 1998) — Ranger Boat Company, the world’s premier fishing boat manufacturer, has announced plans to conduct the richest bass fishing tournament in history to be held in November 1999, at a location to be announced. The history-making event will feature qualifying anglers from the nation’s leading bass fishing organizations competing for the largest first-place cash prize ever offered — $1 million — in the most lucrative tournament in competitive bass angling history.
The Ranger Millennium Tournament will be conducted by the Operation Bass organization (the producers of the famous Wal-Mart FLW Tour) and will feature a field of 400 anglers representing more than 20 organizations and a purse in excess of $3.5 million, marking the first time that anglers from the nation’s leading bass fishing organizations have ever squared off in head-to-head competition.
Original Ranger boat owners will compete in participating tournaments for a qualifying berth in the Ranger Millennium Tournament, and the winner of the event will receive the largest first-place cash prize in fishing history –$400,000 — and an opportunity to win an additional $600,000 in sponsor bonus cash provided by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, and other sponsors to be announced.
The field for the tournament will be comprised of 200 qualifiers in a Pro-Angler division and 200 qualifiers in a Co-Angler division. Pro-Angler participants retain total control of the front of the boat throughout the competition, with the Co-Angler fishing from the back of the boat. Ranger-owner tournament participants will be selected from Ranger-sponsored tournament organizations and will receive division designations based on their finish in specified events.
Anglers will compete in three elimination rounds to determine a winner. The full field will compete for two days, after which the field will be cut to the top 50 anglers in both divisions. These anglers will then compete for one day in the second round, with the top 10 advancing to the final day of competition. Catch weights carry over on the first two days, however, anglers will start the second and final rounds of the competition from zero.
“This tournament has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Irwin L. Jacobs, Chairman of Genmar Holdings, Inc., which owns Ranger Boat Company. “The Ranger Millennium Tournament is our way of rewarding the Ranger family of boat owners for their support and product loyalty as well as further supporting those fine tournament organizations that partner with Ranger in the promotion of the sport of competitive bass fishing. The extensive use of television in support of this event will help to enhance bass fishing as a major, high-profile, competitive sport whose participants are some of the finest role models in our society today.”
The Pro-Angler winner is guaranteed the largest first place cash purse in fishing history — $400,000 — plus the opportunity to collect an additional $600,000 in cash from participating sponsors. The Co-Angler will receive a guaranteed $150,000 and the opportunity to win up to an additional $100,000 from tournament sponsors. The event also features a daily big bass prize of $5,000 with an additional overall big bass prize in the Pro-Angler division of $5,000. The Co-Angler will compete for a $2,500 daily big bass prize each day.
Entry fees for the lucrative tournament are $5,000 for the Pro-Angler and $2,500 for the Co-Angler. All competitors meeting the sponsors’ bonus cash qualifications will receive a minimum cash payback equivalent to their entry fee.
This unique tournament will be the basis of a planned two-hour national television special that will include a first-of-its-kind one-hour live broadcast of the final round.
Randy Hopper, President of Ranger Boat Company, stated, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking event. For over 30 years, loyal Ranger customers have supported our efforts to promote competitive fishing. This is just one way that we can recognize the family of Ranger owners everywhere. Hopefully, this tournament will provide even more competitive opportunities for existing Ranger owners and the Ranger owners of tomorrow.”