The biggest outdoors event ever in Oklahoma is coming to Tulsa and Grand Lake Feb. 22-24: The 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
The fishing will be at Grand Lake, the daily weigh-ins will be at Tulsa's BOK Center and across the street at the convention center will be the Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo. If you are planning to go, here are what you should know and what to expect.
At the Launch: Fans are invited to come out and watch 53 of the world's best anglers slip their slick new bass rigs into Grand Lake O' the Cherokees. The takeoff time is set for 7 a.m. at Wolf Creek.
Fans are advised to be there much earlier than 7 a.m. so they can see the rigs in tow, just before the boats touch water.
Star-spotting is part of the morning fun — Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle, Michael Iaconelli, Skeet Reese and others will be there.
At the Outdoor Expo: Anyone could easily fill an entire day at the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
A die-hard bass fan could fill three days, no problem. The Expo will take place Friday, Feb. 22, from noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The venue is the Tulsa Convention Center in downtown Tulsa.
What's at the Expo? The short answer is anything an anglers' hearts' desires. For starters, there are the newest bass boats and engines to see up close.
Experts will be there to answer any question a visitor might have about a boat and motor. The place will be packed with fishing tackle, some of it on display to the public for the first time.
Look for contests, giveaways, seminars and special appearances. Many well-known pro bass anglers will be at the various booths. Classic competitors are known to show up at the Expo after the weigh-in.
Tip: Ask about test rides. Then there are the add-ons that all the best bass boats wear, from Power-Pole positioning devices to the newest in fish finding and GPS technology.
Show-goers don't have to leave the exhibit hall with a bad case of look-can't-buy. Retailers, such as Dick's Sporting Goods, will be there stocked and ready to sell.
At the weigh-in: This is the main attraction. Arena doors open each day at 3 p.m. at the BOK Center. That's right across the street from the where the Expo will be, so it's a park-once-and-you're-done deal for those driving to the downtown destinations.
Fans are advised to come early, get a good seat and enjoy some surprise entertainment.
The first two days all 53 of the Classic competitors will walk across the stage. Not all will pull lunkers out of their livewells, but it's a rare Classic angler who doesn't have a good fish or two to show off to the crowd.
On the final day, when the field is cut to the Top 25, a $500,000 first prize will be on the line.
If previous Classic finales are any indication, the excitement level will hit the rafters.