|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-11-01                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director, (479) 715-6103 or lenny@toyotatexasbassclassic.com; Adam Harris, Marketing and Communications Senior Manager, (919) 531-0500 or adam@toyotatexasbassclassic.com ]
Nov. 1, 2011
Keith Combs Wins Toyota Texas Bass Classic in Dramatic Fashion
Combs Outlasts Mike Iaconelli in Sudden Death Fish-Off
CONROE--The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), the world championship of professional bass fishing, had to go into overtime to crown a champion. Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, outlasted Mike Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, New Jersey, in an unprecedented sudden death fish-off.
Both anglers caught record-setting three-day totals of 76 lbs. 12 oz. before finding out on stage at the final weigh-in that they were tied. The anglers were forced to go back onto the water where the first one to catch a legal 14-inch bass, verified by their on-the-water judge and tournament officials listening via cell phone, would be declared the winner.
During sudden death it took Combs 45 minutes to reel in the first catch, a 15-inch bass that was good enough for the title.
"I put everything into this, it's all I wanted to do," said Combs. "If it gets any better than this I will fall down and pass out."
Combs led the tournament wire-to-wire to earn $100,000 and a brand-new Legend boat powered by Evinrude. His day one five-bass limit total of 28 lbs. 8 oz. set a new tournament single-day record and he followed that with a 27 lb. 4 oz. bag on day two, which was the second-largest one-day total of the tournament.
For the second consecutive year Mike Iaconelli finished the runner-up. The excitable fan-favorite overcame a 4 lb. deficit going into the final day to bag a 25 lb. limit on Sunday that earned him a tie with Combs, but an eventual second-place finish.
Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, SC, the 2011 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series Angler of the Year, earned a third-place finish with a three-day total of 50 lbs., which was over 26 lbs. behind the leaders.
Combs also earned the ATX Wheels Big Bass Award for his 10 lb. 2 oz. catch on Friday. Combs will receive a set of four ATX Series wheels for his efforts.
The unique professional angling tournament focuses on conservation and features a catch and release program that highlights the efforts of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A generous donation of $250,000 was given to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on behalf of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic to fund youth education and outreach programs. Over the past five years, $1.25 million has been donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the TTBC.
The TTBC featured an elite field of 50 anglers from around the world, including the best from the Walmart FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series. It is the only event in the sport of bass fishing that brings the top anglers together regardless of tour affiliation for a unifying world championship.
Fans at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center in Conroe were treated to three days of first-class entertainment. In addition to daily weigh-ins, fans enjoyed three days of country music concerts and exhibits from over 70 local and national companies.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division. Title sponsor for the event is Toyota. Additional sponsors include Evinrude, IKON, Oakley, Carrot Stix, US Reel and Mustang CAT.
--For more tournament information visit toyotatexasbassclassic.com
--Twitter- @TxBassClassic

[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Nov. 1, 2011
Texas Parks and Wildlife Buys North Texas Land for Future State Park
AUSTIN - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department closed on the purchase of 3,333 acres of Cross Timbers region ranch land from several different owners late last week. TPWD paid $7.14 million for the property that straddles the Palo Pinto and Stephens county line near the town of Strawn.
TPWD and the Nature Conservancy identified the property that sits just a few miles north of Interstate 20 for a future state park site after spending the last few years exploring land in Johnson, Bosque, Erath, Hood, Parker, Palo Pinto and Tarrant counties. The state purchased three contiguous tracts composed of two ranches, and a 42-acre in-holding, located roughly an hour's drive west of downtown Fort Worth.
Funds for the purchase come from the $9.2 million netted from sale in 2008 of the former Eagle Mountain Lake State Park, a sale made possible by an array of private and public donors. The transaction was done with the explicit understanding, supported by Gov. Rick Perry and area legislators, that the proceeds would be used to acquire another state park within 90 miles of downtown Fort Worth. The Legislative Budget Board also had signed off on the use of the Eagle Mountain property sales proceeds to purchase land for a new north Texas state park.
"By any measure, this property was worth the wait" says TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. "We are excited about its diversity and the many recreational opportunities it will ultimately provide to the citizens and park enthusiasts of north Texas. The acquisition of the new park site never would have happened without the extraordinary generosity of so many private and public donors from the Ft. Worth area. All of us who care about the future of our state parks owe these entities a great debt of gratitude."
The remainder of the $9.2 million from the sale of Eagle Mountain Lake State Park will be held in a dedicated sub-account for future park land acquisition and/or improvements.
TPWD and TNC have been working closely with landowners and local officials, including the mayor of Strawn, to ensure public support for the project. A cooperative agreement is in the works to include the use of 81-acre Tucker Lake in the proposed state park.
Smith has indicated that it will take some time to complete a master plan to guide public use and development of the site, which due to limited resources to staff and operate the park, might take several years to open. When the gates of Texas' 94th state park do swing open, Carter believes the state's investment "will pay recreational and conservation dividends for generations to come."
The future state park property is rich in natural resources, fronting two miles on the north fork of Palo Pinto Creek and consisting of diverse topography ranging from hilltop vistas to riparian forests. The land is home to plentiful wildlife, including the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.