Outdoors Expo a cure for cabin fever

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Late February used to be the time most bass anglers fought off cabin fever, searching for something to do while waiting for warmer weather to fish.

But in 2006, BASS is offering a guaranteed fix for winter weather blues: the Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour, part of CITGO Bassmaster Classic week, Feb. 19-26, in Central Florida.

For fishing fans traveling to the Classic each year, the annual Outdoors Expo — a product show with anglers, demonstrations and sweepstakes — always is a highlight. And this year, when it's the dead of winter for much of America, Expo visitors will be in Central Florida, where the average temperature in February is 65 degrees and sunny.

"By the time the Classic and the Expo arrive, thousands of anglers will be more than ready to get out of the house and get involved in fishing again," said BASS' Jim Wright, the Expo event manager. "In that regard, the timing of the Expo couldn't be better."

The ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour is considered one of the top consumer boat, fishing and tackle shows in the country, according to Don Rucks, BASS vice president and general manager. In 2006, more than 200 vendors will take part in the 287,000-square-foot show, including CITGO, Toyota, Purolator, Triton, Berkley, BUSCH, Mercury, Lowrance, MotorGuide and Bass Pro Shops. Between 34,000 and 100,000 visitors attend each year.

"The Outdoors Expo is a great opportunity to reach consumers at the street level," said Geoff Smith, manager of sponsorship marketing and sales promotion for CITGO. "Our goal is to engage each consumer on a level that will impact purchasing decisions because of a positive experience with our brand. When executed properly, we will leave each community with a larger base of loyal CITGO consumers."

The ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour is located at the Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando, which also is the site of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic daily weigh-ins. If the weigh-ins are filled to capacity, BASS will launch a live leaderboard to keep fans at the Expo informed.

Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Armour show hours:
Thursday, Feb. 23: 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 24: 10:00 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25: 10:00 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26: 10:00 a.m. - 7 p.m.

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