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Inaugural Florida High School Fishing State Championship Set For March 12

Ponca City, Okla. (Jan. 24, 2011) – The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW Outdoors, announced it will be hosting the inaugural Student Angler Federation Florida High School Fishing State Championship Saturday, March 12 in Kissimmee, Fla. The state championship is a two person team event for students in grades 9 -12. Registration for high school anglers and their “coach,” who will provide the boat they compete in, opens online at HighSchoolFishing.org or by calling 580.765.9031 beginning Jan. 28. There will be a mandatory check-in Friday, March 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. ET at the Ramada Inn’s Ramada Heritage Park located at 2145 Irlo Bronson Memorial Parkway in Kissimmee with a mandatory rules briefing and safety meeting beginning promptly at 6 p.m.

Osceola County, which is marketed as Kissimmee, the Heart of Florida destination, is hosting this exciting new tournament. “We’re thrilled to be chosen as the location to launch this new championship,” Shelley Maccini, interim director of the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. “Lake Toho is well established as one of the country’s top bass fisheries, so it’s only fitting the inaugural SAF High School Fishing State Championship is held here.”

Students and parents can go to HighSchoolFishing.org for details on joining the Student Angler Federation (SAF) and signing up for an event. Cost is only $25 a year and includes full TBF and FLW Outdoors member benefits, including unlimited access to the all-new FLW Outdoors Magazine e-Edition and insurance coverage for students and their club. The winning two-person team from each state championship will advance to an FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Regional Championship held in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship hosted on a college campus this fall. Ranger boats will be provided for the high school anglers to fish from at each regional championship, and the winners from each regional will advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing National Championship held on a college campus in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in the spring of 2012. All SAF members and state championship participants automatically qualify to fish the largest event in high school fishing, the 2011 High School Fishing World Finals, July 20-23 in Russellville, Ark., to compete for thousands in college scholarships and prizes. Start planning your vacation now!

Each team that qualifies for a regional championship and the national championship will receive a travel allowance to help offset expenses. The High School Fishing National Championship winner’s will also each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.

If you’re not an SAF member, there’s a $25 per angler entry fee for the state championship, which includes full TBF and FLW Outdoors membership benefits. Also, it’s a onetime fee, so you won’t have to pay to fish another SAF sanctioned event all year!

“We’re very excited to be working with the Florida Bass Federation to help bring this event to a state very rich in bass fishing history,” TBF National President, Robert Cartlidge, said. “Our affiliated state federations are the backbone of the industry; they’re on the ground doing the work to put on this event and give high school anglers in Florida a chance to grow their skills, have some fun, compete to advance, and get involved with other programs the Florida Bass Federation has to offer,” Cartlidge added. “Choosing Kissimmee was important also because the area plays host to a wide variety of other high school sports championships every year, and it’s one of the top family vacation destinations in the world. We’re thrilled to bring our family based event to Osceola County and Central Florida.”

Another unique feature of an SAF sanctioned event is the “angler testing” component. All participants can take a free online test at HighSchoolFishing.org about boater safety, conservation and angler ethics, which makes them eligible for contingency awards at their state championship. “It’s an industry first by TBF and a tremendous way to emphasize the importance of education to these student anglers,” TBF National Youth Director, Mark Gintert, said. “The Federation is driven by our desire to promote education through fishing. The testing component is designed to do exactly that. When you put this package together with our partnership with FLW Outdoors, the sky is the limit for these young anglers. They’ll have opportunities unlike anything the industry has ever seen.”

Event Specific Details:

  • State Championship sign-up: rules & details at Highchoolfishing.org, call 580.765.9031 or contact the TBF National Youth Director, Mark Gintert, at mark@bassfederation.com
  • Mandatory Check-in: Friday, March 11, 4-6 p.m. Eastern time, Ramada Inn’s Ramada Heritage Park, 2145 Irlo Bronson Memorial Pkwy. Kissimmee, FL; Phone 407.864.4646; Rules briefing 6:00 p.m.
  • Takeoff & Weigh-in: Saturday, March 12, Kissimmee Lake Front Park, 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

About Kissimmee

Kissimmee is the Heart of Florida destination, offering easy access to world famous theme parks, complemented by a host of smaller attractions, golf courses and other recreation. It’s more than 47,000 accommodations include well-known hotel chains, large and upscale resorts, campgrounds, vacation homes, villas and more. For more information on planning a Central Florida vacation, go to VisitKissimmee.com.

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.

About The Bass Federation

The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF is the largest and oldest, organized grassroots fishing organization. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year and have provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 40 years. Visit bassfederation.com.