J. Todd Tucker has joined the Elite, which puts McDuffie County on the map. The professional angler earned enough points during the Bass Central Open early in November to qualify him for the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series.
"I've been trying to qualify for three years, and I finally qualified this year," Tucker said from his boat while fishing in the Columbus Pool on the Tombigbee Waterway in Columbus, Miss.
"So, I'll start out in Texas, and then will go all up through New York and down the Eastern seaboard."
Not only will he fish in the 11 events of the Elite Series, Tucker said he plans to fish in the nine open Elite events.
"He will be a lot more visible on a higher level now," said McDuffie Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Elizabeth Vance. "So, the more he's out there, the more people see our logo on his boat and his shirt, and the more he's able to be talking about us. ... This is really great news for us."
Earlier this year, McDuffie County CVB became one of Tucker's sponsors as part of the Clarks Hill Partnership. The wrap of his boat features logos of each of the five counties in the Partnership, as well as the logo of the Partnership itself.
"By making the Elite, we'll be able to give McDuffie County more exposure through national television, where we didn't have that option before," Tucker said.
The Elite Series begins in March in Del Rio, Tex., spans through Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, Tennesses, Iowa and Michigan before it ends in New York in August. Each event receives one hour of coverage on ESPN2, according to ESPN media relations representative Doug Grassian. As an Elite Series angler, Grassian said Tucker can qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham.