Classic: Lavish launches, weigh-ins, sweepstakes and more

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Weigh-ins, launches a consumer show and more. The CITGO Bassmaster Classic, the most major event in bass fishing, offers a colossal amount of week-long events to keep fans, spectators and outdoor enthusiasts involved in the sport's most exciting championship event. Free and open to the public, the launch, weigh-ins and consumer expo are a perfect way to experience the largest event in competitive tournament fishing.

eBay Auctions for the Jimmy V Foundation

The CITGO Bassmaster Classic kicks off a year-long series of eBay.com auctions to coincide with Elite Series events and the Bassmaster Majors.

The items for auction this week include:

• A Bassmaster cap autographed by 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

• A Bassmaster cap autographed by 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year Aaron Martens

• A two-night stay at Palm Island Resort in Cape Haze, Fla., which includes the choice of a half-day inshore shallow water fishing excursion in the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve or a kayak fishing charter. Package also includes a round of golf for two and swamp buggy tour.

Bidders can visit www.bassmaster.com/auctions for more information.

Bassmaster Classic Launch

Fans will watch their favorite pros launch from Kissimmee Lakefront Park in downtown Kissimmee at 6:40 a.m. each competition day, Feb. 24-26. And, those fans with boats can be part of the "gallery", racing after their favorite angler as he fishes the Kissimmee Chain's hottest spots for its biggest lunkers.

Bassmaster Classic Weigh-in

It'll be screaming fans, prizes, thunder sticks and ESPN cameras to catch all the action. 51 of the world's best bass anglers will take the weigh-in stage at the Orange County Convention Center on Feb. 24-26. This year is expected to be a slugfest and attendees could see record-breaking catches as Classic competitors vie for the $500,00 top prize and part of a $1.2 million prize purse. The show begins at 2:30 p.m.

The Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour

The Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour, a giant product and activities festival that attracted more than 34,000 visitors in 2005 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, will take place at the Orange County Convention Center. Expo hours include a grand opening on Thursday, 6:30 - 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

CITGO Bassmaster Classic Sweepstakes

Two people will win the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Sweepstakes during the weigh-in pre-show on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Orange County Convention Center. The grand prize winner takes home a 2006 Triton TR21X bass boat valued at $70,000 and teched out by the experts on the popular BASS Saturday TV show, Bass Tech. And, a 2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 double-cab truck valued at $26,620 will be awarded to the first prize winner. Anyone can enter the contest by dropping by the BASS booth at the Outdoors Expo during Classic week.

Bassmaster CastingKids Championship

The Bassmaster CastingKids Championship will be held during the weigh-in pre-show on Saturday, Feb. 25. Twelve contestants, who qualified from a field of more than 120,000 participants, will compete in a preliminary final from 11 a.m. - noon at the Outdoors Expo. From that field, the top two seeds in each age group will advance to the Bassmaster CastingKids finals where they will compete for a piece of $21,000 available in academic scholarships.

The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be hosted by the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission.