COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, along with USA Bass and Pan-American Sportfishing Federation, are counting down, as the timeline shortens for the Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship. Cookeville will serve as home to this inaugural event set to cast on May 28 – 31, 2019.
The first-of-its-kind in the world, the four-day competition will welcome the most elite kayak bass anglers from around the globe to Center Hill Lake. While invitation only for competitors, the event is open to the public for spectating and for meet-and-greets with the anglers.
Teams confirmed included Costa Rica, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Honduras and USA.
John Knight, with US Angling Confederation, is serving as event manager as well as USA Bass team manager.
“US Angling produces events throughout the United States and found Cookeville, Tenn. to be a first-class location for our new bass kayak event,” said Knight. “The town has all the charm and hospitality needed to welcome our international anglers.”
“The lodging choice was very accommodating, and the town amenities will make for an incredible experience for all attendees. Center Hill Lake is an excellent bass fishery and further highlights the area as a perfect host for this event.”
A welcome parade for local residents/spectators will take place at 5:30 p.m. CT on Tues., May 28 to kick-off the week of competition. The parade will begin near the Cookeville Depot Museum routing down Broad Street to the Putnam County Courthouse Square then onto S. Jefferson Avenue, leading to their host hotel, Quality Inn-Cookeville.
“Spectators are invited to come see the team during our town parade or come see the action on Center Hill Lake on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. We are looking forward to a great week and hope to bring back other fishing championships to Cookeville in the future,” added Knight.
Access ramps onto Center Hill Lake that will be accommodating anglers include: Ragland Bottom, Cane Hollow and Rock Island.
Local residents and businesses are encouraged to line the streets during the welcome parade. Welcome messaging on signs, marquees and billboards is also encouraged.
“To host an angling event of this level, welcoming this many countries to Putnam County, is a huge win for us,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. “We hope our residents in Putnam County and throughout the Upper Cumberland region will show these guests a warm welcome, highlighting the hospitality for which our community has become so well known.”
In addition to being an inaugural Pan-American championship, officials with the Confederation Internationale de Peche Sportive (CIPS) will be in attendance to evaluate the potential for officially making kayak bass fishing a world championship level sport.
The visitors’ bureau has connected event organizers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the championship is executed successfully.