Johnny Morris Award set for MLF General Tire World Champion 2017

TULSA, Okla. (June 28, 2017) - Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris' name appears on numerous prestigious awards, many bestowed for his conservation efforts including the Teddy Roosevelt Conservationist Award. However, the Johnny Morris Award, to be presented to the winner of the inaugural Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship 2017, is the first time a bass trophy has been named in his honor.

The Johnny Morris Award goes to the MLF world champion, determined when 12 of the world's top professional bass anglers compete against one another in televised matches on CBS and CBS Sports Network that began June 24. The program will be the largest and first progressive six-week bass fishing series to run on national broadcast television.

"It was Johnny Morris who challenged us to come up with a way to bring the sport of bass fishing to a broader audience and we're proud to have accomplished that with our championship series on CBS, so we're delighted to name this trophy after him," said MLF General Manager Jim Wilburn. "Of course as a result, we wanted this trophy to truly be something special and it definitely is."

The Johnny Morris Award is more than 2-feet tall and weighs 63 pounds. The CNC-tooled aluminum shield bearing the General Tire and MLF logos is engraved in relief to give it a dimensional perspective and allow for color filling to the brands' black and red distinctions.

An exotic dark wood known for its rich grain and handcraftsmanship properties was selected to house the shield, while natural-colored cherry wood was chosen to frame the exterior to add dimension, styling and color contrast.

"The purpose of the design is to capture the uniqueness, quality and craftsmanship that a competition of this stature requires and deserves, as well as to incorporate the General Tire and MLF branding and commemorate the event's year and location," said Evan McKee, its designer with Trophies Unlimited of Fort Smith, Ark.

"I've been in the award industry for 22 years and this trophy is without a doubt at the top of the list of everything I've seen and been involved in for quality and design. It was my pleasure and a privilege to have designed it in collaboration with noted wood craftsman Sam Dodd II and the team at Major League Fishing."

Competing in the first MLF General Tire World Championship and vying for the Johnny Morris Award are Mark Davis, Boyd Duckett, Edwin Evers, Greg Hackney, Tim Horton, Mike Iaconelli, Gary Klein, Jeff Kriet, Bobby Lane, Aaron Martens, Mike McClelland and Kevin VanDam. They were the 12 anglers with the most points accumulated from participation in 2016 and 2017 MLF Cup events.

Bass Pro Shops has been a part of MLF since the inception of the innovative made-for-television bass fishing competitions originated in 2011 through a partnership between Outdoor Channel and a select group of professional anglers. The MLF television show has been Outdoor Channel's top-rated overall program in first quarters 2016 and 2017.

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