ORANGE — One of the biggest professional fishing tours in the world is headed to Orange in 2013.
The Bassmaster Elite Series, featuring many of the greatest bass anglers in the world, has targeted Orange, Texas, for the Sabine River Challenge. The event will take place on Thursday, March 14, and continue through Sunday, March 17, and it will be featured on television networks such as ESPN and the Outdoor Channel.
The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce announced the big news on Wednesday.
“Welcoming the Bassmaster Elite Series’ top 100 anglers to our area, along with their sponsors, family, friends, media, and several thousand B.A.S.S. members and fishing enthusiasts from around the country, is the top priority for the Chamber and our partners,” said Ida Schossow, Greater Orange Area Chamber President, in a statement. “We plan to use this as an opportunity to introduce the country to the great fishing, the friendly people, and the many hidden treasures of Orange County. It is sure to be an exciting week full of fishing, fun, and festivities intended not only for the enjoyment of out-of-town guests, but also for area residents.”
The Bassmaster Elite Series Tournaments have drawn as many as 10,000 spectators in the past. The Sabine River Challenge will kick off the 2013 Elite Series in March and is expected to have a significant impact on the Orange-area economy during the tournament and a positive residual impact for years to come.
“This is gigantic news for Orange,” said Chester Moore Jr., Outdoors Editor of The Orange Leader. “This could put Orange on the map for its sportsfishing. Other than the Bassmaster Classic, this is as big an event as you will see in professional fishing. Our area has a chance to draw a lot of people into it for this event.
“These fishermen are the best on the planet,” he added. “They have a knack for finding big fish on any body of water. It will be interesting to see how they do on the Sabine River.”
Jon Gothia and David Jones, event chairmen for the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, have been working toward Wednesday’s announcement for many months as the pair have conducted several meetings and on-site visits by members of B.A.S.S.
Financial commitments from Orange County Commissioner’s Court, the Orange County Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee and Orange County Economic Development Corporation, as well as a title sponsorship secured by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
“B.A.S.S. is the premier bass fishing organization in the world and we look forward to showcasing Orange County as a premier location for quality cultural and recreational opportunities,” said Bobby Fillyaw, executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation, in a press release. “Thanks to the team effort of our local leadership and community organizations, this will be a great event that will have a tremendous impact on our local economy.”