2016 Bassmaster Classic Surpasses 2013 Attendance
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Bassmaster Classic drew record crowds this weekend.
More than 107,000 fans attended the ‘Super Bowl of Fishing’ in Tulsa and at Grand Lake. That beats the attendance from three years ago when the tournament last visited Tulsa.
The biggest highlight of the weekend came in on the final day of weigh-ins at the BOK Center when Talala native, Edwin Evers, edged out Park Hill native Jason Christie for the 2016 Bassmaster Classic trophy.
But Evers wasn’t the only winner.
Cheering crowds, a busy expo and a loaded boat ramp all made for a very busy weekend for Tulsa and Grand Lake, and businesses saw a $30 million impact.
"There's thousands of people at take-off, and then you throw in what happened at BOK Center, it was just huge," Evers said.
He said Grand Lake played a big role, showcasing why Oklahoma lakes are the best in the country for fishing.
Evers said his big catch Sunday, which put him ahead of his buddy Jason Christie, shows how awesome Grand Lake is for bass fishing.
"I'm so excited to have caught that final 29-pound bag that final day. Grand really didn't show itself, that's what's in Grand, that's everywhere in Grand, you know, 29 pounds, and you just want the rest of the world to know what I know about Grand Lake and how good it is," Evers said.
Officials said they surpassed the attendance numbers from the 2013 visit by almost 1,000 visitors.
BASS event coordinator, Eric Lopez, worked behind the scenes to make sure everything went flawlessly.
"When you have an event this big, you know we're coming back, it's just a matter of when and how long - how do we make it new so people aren't seeing the exact same events. So we have our challenges ahead of us because we want to make a fresh event every year," he said.
With a record turnout, Tulsa could see the tournament return.
"I think it's definitely possible. We all want to see it again, we'd love to; and if the timing's right, and everything comes together, I think we could," said Matt Stockman with Visit Tulsa.
The Bassmaster Classic kicks off the tournament fishing season, which starts in about ten days.