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Fishing News - 4/6/00

    Ranger Withdraws from Sponsorship of BASS

    Ranger Boats Press Release:

    Ranger Maintains Its Focus On Fishing.

    Due to the recent scheduled roll-out of the World Championship Fishing (WCF) Series sanctioned by B.A.S.S., combining racing and fishing, Ranger Boats will cease all negotiations to renew their official B.A.S.S. sponsorship. Although Ranger plans to fulfill all existing obligations under their current agreement, they believe the WCF concept is not in the best long-term interest of the sport or of the safety and well-being of the fishing community. As a result, Ranger has decided against participating in the WCF or any similar activity.

    Citing conflicts with the direction WCF is taking bass fishing, Ranger President Randy Hopper said, "The WCF is an obvious change in strategy by B.A.S.S. management. For over a quarter of a century, Ranger and B.A.S.S. have shared philosophies with regard to the future and growth of bass fishing. Working together, both have been instrumental in the implementation and adoption of many key initiatives that are commonplace today in promoting conservation and boating safety. With WCF, emphasis has been taken off fishing and placed on racing."

    Case in point - the made-for-TV BASS Quest held last August on Rend Lake in Illinois. Unlike ordinary tournaments, BASS Quest combined traditional bass fishing with boat racing. In the racing segment, anglers were timed as they raced their boats over an unorthodox watercourse featuring long straight-aways and narrow twists, turns, and switchbacks. In direct contradiction with WCF, Ranger feels bass tournaments do not need to add racing to the format to create more excitement, and does not agree with changing the fundamentals of the sport for the sole reason of appealing to a larger TV audience. Noted Hopper, "We feel there is nothing wrong with thinking 'outside the box' to grow the sport. We do, however, have a problem with this concept that changes the essence of the sport. As one angler stated, just imagine a golf tournament where 60% of one's total score was based on a round of golf and 40% was based on racing a modified golf cart through a planned race course. We believe fishing in and of itself is exciting and is on the rise, with its best days ahead. We don't have anything against racing in its proper context, we just feel there is no place for it in bass fishing. Fishing and tournament fishing are wholesome sports, good for the family and good for the country."

    Ranger Vice President of Marketing, Bart Schad voiced his concerns, saying, "Frankly, the WCF promotes unsafe boating practices. Especially at risk are the young and impressionable. They see the pros racing and performing these extreme maneuvers and think it's all right for them to do likewise on open public waterways." Added Schad, "The promotion of racing and the glamorizing of irresponsible driving is a recipe for disaster. "

    Commented Hopper, "Ranger has always prided itself on manufacturing the best quality fishing boats possible, cutting no corners - with safety, stability and fishability in the forefront. We have built our company on these principles and firmly believe that a departure from our foundation to place an emphasis on racing would prove to be a significant disservice and disappointment to our customers. At Ranger, our customers come first."

    Ranger Boats, headquartered in Flippin, Arkansas, is the nation's largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats, including a line of more than 40 freshwater boats, and a popular saltwater series. With emphasis on building the best boats in the world, Ranger Boats is still building legends...one at a time.

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