Bassmaster Trophy Leaves Some Feeling Snubbed

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- When Randy Howell won the 2014 Bassmaster Classic Sunday, the words he said afterward struck an odd chord with many in Guntersville.

"I listened to what he said, and he said a lot of nice things and good things," said Kathryn Baucom, co-owner of Crawmamas in Guntersville.  "But it was all about Birmingham.  Birmingham is not where it was at."

Baucom says what really upset her was the trophy given to Howell reading Birmingham on it, with no mention of Guntersville.

"It was discouraging.  And it was frustrating.  And it hurt a lot of people's feelings because we didn't get the recognition we deserved," said Baucom.  "Those were our fish."

Neena Drake, who runs the Courthouse Grill, agreed.

"I really think it's sort of a slap in the face for Guntersville, because we had so many people that worked so hard and so many long hours," said Drake.

WHNT News 19 reached out to Bassmaster officials.   They released a statement that said they were "sorry about the injured feelings. We very much appreciate all that Guntersville did for us. But Birmingham was the host city."


  • Mark J.

    We here in Guntersville feel like we got a slap in the face after being promised that the Classic was coming to Guntersville and great and wonderful things would follow. We got no real gain as far a business, more sales etc. Our local politicians or whomever set this deal up really did not think it thru. They should be run out of office for being incompetent. Really who negotiates a deal like this! Fish our lake, we pay part of the prize money, all the people stay somewhere else along with their money. Lake Guntersville is the attraction here!! If not then Bass Masters should have fished that little pond in downtown Birmingham!!! Just another example of STUPID.

    • John Smith

      G’ville just got out-hustled by BASSMASTERS! These guys ain’t from podunk, they know how to turn a dollar! They took your money AND your fish!…….Why don’t y’all invite them back next year??

  • Nuclear Mike

    Gee…City of Guntersville Leaders…you sold out your home town with not even so much as an “honorable mention”…now y’all may understand why your City remains just a “boat ramp” on the Tennessee River…

    • globeflyer

      The real culprit here is BassMasters. Who’s to say that they didn’t lie to the City of Guntersville? Don’t blame city officials who took BassMasters at face value THIS TIME, but you CAN blame them if it happens again. Lake Guntersville doesn’t need BassMasters, but BassMasters can’t drag the lake to Birmingham. Stupid remarks about spending $60K on a boat ramp that will be used (for many years) by fishermen spending a ton of money in G’ville show just how short-sighted some can be.

  • mike bertus

    what’s sad its not about the anglers, they have to fish where they are told and they are the pro’s that work their butts off to support their families and is the reason people attend the tournaments . I attended all of the blast offs and the people in Guntersville did an outstanding job supporting their favorite anglers. If the officials needed a large indoor area why didn’t they go to the civic center in Huntsville instead of making the anglers drive an hour and half after they fished all day. Guess its all about the money instead of what’s best for the anglers and the city the lake is in they fish. I don’t think the officials with bassmasters understand or care about all the ward work that Guntersville put out to make the classic one of the best ever.

    It is wrong that Guntersville wasn’t even on the trophy that Randy Howell won. But congratulations to Randy for a great job and the trophy is staying in Alabama.

  • Frank

    If Birmingham was the host city maybe they needed to dig a lake, the tourism of Guntersville and Marsall county look forward to these events to boost profits.

    • Tonlo Swords

      I think this Classic was very good for Guntersville. It might not look like we have a positive gain right now but in the future we should see more visitors come to our city and hopefully they will vacation and spend money at a lot of our local Businesses. Guntersville folks rose to the challenge and did a great job showing our City, Thanks for the hard work. It was a great weekend. We could never have held the crowd that was at the final weigh in. It would be nice if BASS would send some of their gain back to the city. A really fine young man from Alabama won this tournament and kept it in the State. He had nothing but Praise for our God and Guntersville and folks that means more than any personnel gain that we could get right now
      It took over an hour to get out of the parking deck, I just can’t imagine what a jam Guntersville would have been in if final weigh in were held in town.

      • bill

        Tonlo, How much money ,did this cost the Guntersville tax payers . Its easy for the Mayor to spend money , when its not hers or her daddys.

      • globeflyer

        The money was an investment! I know bass fishermen from as far away as Ohio and Indiana who have driven to G’ville to fish the lake. Guess what? THEY SPEND MONEY! Money that stays in G’ville! Some of you people obviously failed Econ. 101.

      • Tonlo Swords

        Bill, I can’t answer your question on how much money was spent but it is a good one and maybe we will find out soon. I do know the Mayor and Council was voted in by the Citizens. That means we put our trust in them to do the right thing. There are lots of opinions here but not a whole lot of facts. Just a though or example: If you were trying to sell your house would you not clean it and fix it up to show its real worth? In my opinion that’s what the good folks of Guntersville did with the Bass deal. It was a good change that made a lot of folks work together as best they could to show off what a beautiful place that we live in. sure we made a much better Boat Ramp than was there but we needed it and it will be there for a long time to be used by all. We can set around and do business as usual or we can take a chance on something good come from last weeks Event. I do think we might have learned how to handle it better next time. If the City had said that they did not want anything to do with this event it would have went on anyway so why not be a good Host and have fun doing it.

      • bill

        tonlo, your right, they were voted in. Maybe with the next goat roping ,they will look at the fine print, an trust me, she and her daddy, will try again. and the puppets will go along with her.

  • JCRespect

    I grew up in Guntersville, and if Guntersville wants to continue to grow, they need to think about building a facility that is big enough to handle that kind of crowd, and if not bigger. The beauty of the river and the valley would be great for businesses and companies to come and hold their conventions, as well as other major events.
    I think it is time for Guntersville to think about putting Connor’s Island to some better use than it already is. How about building a great big convention center and visitors bureau in that place. It is paid for and is beautiful and could be used for any kind of multi-function facility to bring more tourism and bigger events there.
    i drove all the way from Tennessee to see some of it, and it was bland in some aspects with the fishermen leaving town.
    I am now in a small town in Tennessee that there city leaders do not want to grow, only keep it small like it is, and the population is decreasing, because when kids graduate and go off to college, they do not want to come back, because there is nothing more for them to come home to.
    Just a thought, the vision of having something of that capacity in Guntersville along the river at Connor’s Island would be fantastic.

    • Frank

      I went too school there at Claysville School, accross the street from there. I thought growing up that that place was up and coming and all kinds of businesses were coming there. It’s just sad that that community is wasted away.

  • Lee

    Guntersville officials dropped the ball big time on this deal. Regardless of the hot air they try to blow and make people believe, they failed! We as taxpayers would respect you a whole lot more if you just admit that you failed, rather than give excuse after excuse. The argument that Guntersville will benefit in the long run because of this event is hog wash! Guntersville is already rated by some magazines as the 3rd best fishing lake in the country, so people already know about Guntersville. This tournament isnt going to bring any more people here to fish than would already be here anyways. As far as people around the country are concerned, they think the tournament was in Birmingham anyways. Guntersville spent $60,000 on the boat ramp alone, (according to the newspaper). Guntersville lost money on this deal, because NO one spent money here. People were running to Birmingham to spend their money. Some want to blame bassmasters, well its the city officials job to get a commitment from bassmasters on exactly what will happen in Guntersville. If the officials cant get a commitment from bassmasters, then don’t spend OUR tax dollars on an event that you cant get our money back from..

  • sara's mom

    There is an interesting video showing the past angler winners of the Classic going back to the 1970’s whose names and locations are engraved on the trophy. Last year’s does not show and the picture is blurry when Cliff Pace won but I believe it says Tulsa, Oklahoma, not Grand Lake of the Cherokees. In 2012, when Chris Lane won, the trophy says Shreveport-Bossier City, AL but the fishing was on the Red River nearby. Further back, Birmingham, AL is mentioned 7 times, with no mention of the lake fished. There is one mention of Rogersville, AL and, believe it or not, in 1976 when Rick Clunn won on Lake Guntersville, our lake is named under his name. Obviously, times have changed going back decades so far as Bassmasters recognition is concerned. It really depends what Guntersville’s promoters were expecting or told or assumptions made. A little research on the media brochure could have clarified this issue. Yes, Guntersville is mentioned but so is Birmingham.

  • Laura in Guntersville

    Sounds like people in Guntersville are concerned about “what the city got” for their investment? Professional anglers and their families have been coming to Guntersville to practice ever since the Classic location was announced. Once those who qualified knew they were qualified, each of them came to Guntersville and spent at least one week practicing – stayed in a hotel, ate from local restaurants, purchased gas for their truck and their boat, bought tackle from local shops, etc. Most probably came for multiple weeks.

    The local direct economic impact of a regular fishing tournament is estimated as much as $1 million dollars per 100 anglers; media exposure and subsequent tourism revenue not included. Since this was a Championship tournament, the impact was likely greater than that conservative estimate.

    The people of Guntersville did a great job of representing and should be proud of the positive image presented last weekend. The daily weigh-in was in Birmingham, but those guys didnt stay at Birmingham hotels. The majority of them, their families, their sponsor representatives, tournament staff, factory service personnel, and media all stayed locally – in Guntersville. While they were here, they all paid motel fees/lodging taxes, ate out in local restaurants, bought from local merchants, put gas in their trucks and boats, etc. And their families, sponsors and media did too! That’s what the City of Guntersville “got” – positive ecomomic impact for local hotels and merchants, additional tax income, and a positive image.

      • globeflyer

        She should have. Nice reply Laura, good to see someone has the big picture. Bill, if you’re still around, reread Laura’s reply. You might learn something.

      • Laura in Guntersville

        No Sammy thank you for asking but I don’t work for the City of Guntersville, the Chamber, the Tourism Board, Bassmasters, or any of the sponsors. I just call it like I see it. And in this particular case, I simply understand the value in hosting events in the City of Guntersville. I hope that the voice of a few “naysayers” who obviously don’t appreciate the positive economic impact will not deter the continued efforts of the city to retain similar events in the future.

    • bill

      Globeflyer, in running a business ,I do know about r o i, I don’t think the Guntersville tax payers think Ms.Mayor, and her daddy, see the BIG PICTURE. but that’s just me, a tax payer.

    • Jan

      For what it is worth. My husband and I watched the playback of the Bassmaster’s tourney yesterday on ESPN. The pros had nothing but good things to say about Guntersville, how beautiful it is and the abundance of bass and our beautiful lake. You can not put a dollar figure on this but we got a lot of good coverage. I am sure all that watched this left with a good feeling about Guntersville and our beautiful lake.

  • Thomas Underwood

    Hey Bill the scorn tax payer. Sounds like you have a personal vendetta against Mrs. Mayor and father. Get over it. Before you start making allegations you need to get some facts. I happen to know the family and know they have Guntersville’s best interest at heart. Guntersville got a lot of publicity from the Bass Masters. It will pay off in the long run. So with that said you need to look at the Big Picture which is you are looking like a fool with your comments…

    • bill

      Mr. Underwood, please stop makeing charges,like vendetta,scorn, fool, you do not know me, I also know the know the people your are trying to defend,and I understand WHY you are defending them , not being from this area, it took a while to see just how incestuous the city (Guntersville) Is.

      • Tonlo Swords

        I think it might be time for this to stop. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Hope you all have a great weekend and get to spend some quality time with family on Guntersville Lake.

    • bill

      Tonlo, you are correct, everyone IS entitled to their opinion,thank you. I know Mr. Underwood name calling is just his way of defending, his friends,and his lack of understanding of how incestuous a city can become, when people think they are intitled to , do what they want ,with tax payers. As a business man, Return On Investment( R O I) is very important, I think the Mayor should let the taxpayers know ,the time fram , one, five, ten,years that they can see their tax dollars , R O I. Looks like one of the concile members would have ask that question. Maybe it has already crossed over into the incestuous stage.

    • bill

      Mr. Underwood , I see you like to call people names , then go hidding. Maybe you and your two friends,are looking For the BIG PICTURE.

  • mike bertus


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