The National Guard spent $20 million dollars on professional bass fishing over the last two years, but it it is quite likely that sponsorship windfall could disappear if a new amendment, just out of committee, ultimately reaches the Congress as part of a greater defense bill. But could there be a replacement waiting in the wings?

According to a story in USA Today, the amendment passed an important hurdle when it cleared the House Appropriations Committee last Thursday. The bill’s sponsors (Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn, and Jack Kingston, R-Ga) noted that  taxpayer money to the tune of $110 million dollars has been budgeted to help in National Guard recruitment (most going to NASCAR), but the representatives believe the cost per recruit is exorbitant.

Given the current tenor of the public opinion (certainly outside the sports world) cutting back spending in this particular area could find broad support. In any event, whether these tax-supported sponsorships are diminished or entirely eliminated, it will have some effect on a handful of prominent western pros, most notably, Brent Ehrler of Redlands.

Ironically, just when one sponsorship door may be closing, it appears another may be opening as Lucas Oil, (with its corporate headquarters in Corona) seems to be on a spending spree supporting a number of racing events and most recently throwing support behind a June bass tournament at Lake Mead, including advertising dollars to get the event televised.

Also, in April, Lucas announced its sponsorship of John Murray of Phoenix, a Bassmaster Elite pro, which could have been especially fortuitous on his behalf. While Murray has been a successful competitor for many years and a 2-time U.S. Open winner, Ehrler has been especially “hot property” over the last two to three years and would have been a likely candidate for Lucas, had the timing been different.

Or is Lucas smarter than that? Were they aware of the impending legislation and have timed their grand entry into the bass fishing arena? (Lucas Oil has yet to respond to my emailed request for a statement, but pro anglers present at the Wounded Warrior event at DVL Saturday were raising a number of questions.)

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. The Lucas Oil Summer Classic is set for June 25-27.






2 Responses to “Lucas Oil to replace departing National Guard?”

by Jojo Norwood.

I never understood the Government spend’n money to advertise…..I mean they BANNED tobacco from sponser’n anything. But I am dumb.

by George Kramer

Intentions and methods sometimes get confused, Jojo. Of course Lucas wouldn’t be able to replace the entire $20 million and still make a profit–that’s a lot of racing oil and chain lube.