Anglers, sponsors and local officials showed excitement for the weekend ahead at the pre-kickoff event Thursday for the Bassmaster Classic 2019.
The competition known as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” is happening in Knoxville for the first time in its 49-year history.
The mayors of Knoxville and Knox County were excited to have their community part of the enormous event that’s expected to bring more than 100,000 people to town and boost the economy.
The Bassmaster Classic events will take place near several Knoxville staples such as the Volunteer Landing, where anglers depart to fish, and The Thompson-Boling Arena, where the weigh-ins take place.
Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville, said she’s excited for so many visitors to be in the city.
“There’ll be a lot of exposure for the city so we hope that will encourage more people to come and visit us as they see the great things that we have to offer here,” Rogero said.
Ott DeFoe, a professional angler in the competition, was born and raised in Knoxville.
“Having the Bassmaster Classic, our Super Bowl of Bass fishing, here in east Tennessee and right here at home in Knoxville for me is extremely special,” DeFoe said.
DeFoe said he is one of two anglers in the competition that knows the water pretty well.
He asked locals and spectators to be respectful toward the competitors and give them some space while they are fishing.
DeFoe also asked locals not to fish in the competition area.
“I know it can be really hard, the weather’s nice, you’re out there on the water it’s very easy to pick up a rod and go fishing, but you never know when the next place that an angler’s going to show up that’s in the tournament where he may go fishing next,” DeFoe said.
The Bassmaster Classic tournament officially starts Friday at 7:30 a.m. and weigh-ins are expected to start around 4 p.m.