BELPRE - The 2014 Belpre Homecoming Buddy Bass Tournament is expected to bring more than 100 eager anglers to Belpre for a day of bass fishing on the Ohio River and its tributaries.
The annual Saturday tournament is organized by Frontier Bassmasters with support from the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce and Polymer Services of Ohio LLC.
The tournament features $2,500 in cash prizes. The prizes range from $1,500 for first place, $750 for second place, $500 for third, $300 for fourth, $200 for fifth and $100 for sixth through 10th places.
Dozens of boats leave the Belpre Boat Ramp at the start of last year’s Belpre Homecoming Buddy Bass Tournament. This year’s tournament will be 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, on the final day of the 2014 Belpre Homecoming Festival.
The entry fee is $60 a boat, with the tournament running from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Belpre Boat Ramp. A drivers meeting will be 5:30 a.m. Saturday at McDonald's on Washington Boulevard, with registration from 4:30-6 a.m. Saturday.
Boat starting positions will be drawn first from advance entries after the drivers meeting. All of those signing up Saturday morning will be drawn next in a separate second drawing. Boat check and launch begins at 6 a.m. Saturday.
Polymer Services will be providing hot dogs and drinks at the weigh-in on Saturday afternoon.
In conjunction with the bass tournament, the Kids Fishing Derby will be 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Civitan Park Lake for children ages 14 and under. Admission is free and prizes and trophies will be awarded in three age groups. There will be free rods and reels for all participants, along with trophies and prizes.
Jerry Burkhart is president of the Frontier Bassmasters, a local fishermen's group which has been putting on the Belpre tournament for a decade or more.
He said interest and participation have continued to grow over the years of the tournament, with the number of boats ranging from 40 to 50- with two fishermen per boat - up to 90 boats during the last couple of years.
"We look forward to that," Burkhart said of the growth, which he said is a good indicator of the tournament's popularity.
Burkhart praised the support of the BACC and many businesses, individuals and organizations in Belpre and throughout Washington County which provide support and sponsorships each year for the event.