Monday, May 22, 2017

CONTACT: Kay Donaldson, Program Director
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 855.9FISHAL

Alabama Bass Trail Announces 2018 Tournament Schedule
Registration Opens August 1

Decatur, Ala. (May 9, 2017) – The Alabama Bass Trail (ABT) is pleased to unveil the 2018 tournament schedule and among the key changes is a new open tournament that allows anglers to try the trail without committing to five weekends. Returning for the fifth season, the team-style tournament series is held on eleven of the lakes of the Alabama Bass Trail beginning February 17, 2018, with the championship tournament to be held on October 26-27, 2018. The new ABT Open Tournament makes its debut September 8, 2018, on Smith Lake.

“It is hard to believe we are announcing the schedule for the fifth season,” said ABT Program Director Kay Donaldson. “The success of the tournament series relies a great deal on the host cities that bid for our events. Arranging the tournament schedule is similar to a jigsaw puzzle at times, and in some cases, you have multiple cities bidding for hosting rights on one lake. We have to consider available hotel space, meeting space, boat ramp access, prime fishing time on each lake and weather. We are excited about the 2018 season and we look forward to another great year on the trail.”

Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the ABT Tournament Series contains two divisions, North and South, and each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. The maximum number of boats for each tournament is 225. Teams must fish in all five tournaments in their respective division; no single entries will be allowed.

North Division:
February 17, 2018                               Pickwick Lake hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism
March 10, 2018                                   Lake Guntersville hosted by Marshall County CVB
April 21, 2018                                     Wheeler Lake hosted by Decatur-Morgan County CVB
May 12, 2018                                      Weiss Lake  hosted by Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
June 9, 2018                                        Logan Martin Lake hosted by Pell City Chamber of Commerce

South Division:
February 24, 2018                               Lay Lake hosted by Shelby County Commission
March 24, 2018                                   Lake Martin hosted by Alexander City Chamber of Commerce
April 7, 2018                                       Lake Eufaula hosted by Eufaula-Barbour Chamber of Commerce
May 5, 2018                                        Lake Jordan hosted by City of Wetumpka
June 23, 2018                                      AL River/Cooter’s Pond hosted by City of Prattville Parks and Recreation

Hosted by the Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department, the championship tournament is set for October 26-27, 2018, on Neely Henry Lake. “We are proud to partner with the City of Gadsden to bring the Alabama Bass Trail Championship to Gadsden and Neely Henry Lake. Tournament fishing is hard work and we'll do our best to give the anglers the best tournament we can,” said Hugh A. Stump III, executive director of Greater Gadsden Area Tourism.

The championship event will include up to 185 boats. The 185 boats are comprised of the 10 divisional tournament winning teams, top 75 teams in points from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective divisions, along with the top 10 student boats, top five college teams and the top five couples teams collectively from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective division.

Each tournament features a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize and pays 40 places, totaling more than $47,000. The winning team of the championship walks away with a fully rigged bass boat valued at $45,000, and there is a $5,000 bonus cash prize for Angler of the Year and $2,500 for runner-up Angler of the Year. According to Donaldson, more than $566,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded when the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series wraps up its season in 2018.

2018 Payout Schedule:
First place       $10,000
Second place   $ 5,000
Third place     $ 4,000
Fourth place    $ 3,000
Fifth place       $ 2,000
Sixth place      $ 1,500
Seventh place $ 1,100
Eighth place    $ 1,100
Ninth place     $ 1,100
Tenth place     $ 1,100
11th – 20th      $    750 each
21st – 40th      $    500 each

Anglers who fished all five events in their respective divisions in 2017 will be given a priority entry period from August 1 to August 14, 2017, to register online at  Registration will be open to the public on August 15, 2017. The entry fee per tournament is $1,300 per team, which includes registration for all five tournaments in the respective division. Each team may choose to pay a $500 nonrefundable deposit to hold the team's spot. The balance of $800 must be paid by January 16, 2018.

New for 2018, the ABT Open Tournament is set for September 8, 2018, on Smith Lake. Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, the one-day tournament allows teams to compete in a single tournament instead of the tournament series, which has a five-weekend commitment. It has a $15,000 guaranteed first place prize and a total cash payout of more than $70,000. The maximum number of amateur boats is 250 and the entry fee is $300 per team. In addition to the amateur teams for the first time, Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour Pro Anglers are invited to participate. The professional teams are competing for a  $7,500 winner-take-all prize for highest finisher in the tournament. The maximum number of pro teams is 25 and the entry fee is $300.  “We are super excited to invite these professional anglers to fish an Alabama Bass Trail event. A good number of them follow our trail and I think we will have a good turn out of the top anglers on each professional tour,” said Donaldson. Registration for the ABT Open begins on January 22, 2018.  

“We are excited to introduce the first Alabama Bass Trail Open Tournament,” said Donaldson. “One of the comments we hear often is how much anglers would like to fish with us, but they just can't commit to five weekends. This gives them the opportunity to fish our event and experience the quality of the event, and hopefully when they can commit to fishing a trail, they will choose the Alabama Bass Trail. The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and their volunteers have been great to work with during previous events, providing great hospitality to our teams, and we are extremely excited to bring this new event to Smith Lake and Walker County.”

Alabama Bass Trail Tournament sponsors include Bill Penney Toyota; the Alabama Tourism Department; Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc.; Academy Sports & Outdoors; Garmin; Wind Creek Hospitality-Montgomery; Wind Creek Hospitality-Wetumpka; T-H Marine Supplies, Inc.; Wedowee Marine; Alabama Power Company; Tennessee Valley Authority; Lews Fishing;; Power-Pole; YETI; Hydrowave; and AFTCO, Inc. Pond MD will manage fish care and Southern Stream Live will be the live-streaming company.

For more information, call Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit   

About Alabama Bass Trail

The Alabama Bass Trail is a program of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. Its mission is to promote Alabama as a year-round fishing destination, to preserve natural resources for generations to come, and to educate high school and college-aged students to be good stewards of natural resources. The 13 bass fishing lakes consist of Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Weiss Lake, Lake Martin, Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lake Jordan, Alabama River, Lake Eufaula, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. For more information, visit

Monday, May 8, 2017

What Decatur/Morgan County Means to Me Monday

It’s Monday again in Decatur and Morgan County. It is a new month, with a new beginning, new focus, and a fresh start. Sometimes, you just need a break.  Especially, this time of year. Spring brings visitors to Decatur and Morgan County for a variety of reasons.  For many,  Decatur-Morgan County is a destination for regional, national, and even international sports tournaments and events. For some, it is a weekend get-away or a summer bucket list destination. However, there are individuals that are lucky enough to call Decatur and Morgan County their home. Among those individuals is Peggy Towns, Author:  "Duty Driven.  The Plight of North Alabama's African Americans During the Civil War"
“It’s my hometown, where I was born and raised.  Decatur with its charming small town flare is a treasured gift of family, friends, and neighbors.  Growing up in Old Town, the city’s oldest neighborhood brings a great sense of pride for the community.  Today’s sports, social and cultural activities provide varied engaging opportunities; while learning activities offered for the young and old give a great source of enlightenment.
Decatur is a city of “discovery.”  Understanding our Cultural Heritage is important; from slavery to Civil War, with the organization of the first black regiment in the State of Alabama (106th United States Colored Troops).  From Reconstruction to the railroad, to the bustling Bank and Vine Street business districts; to a once thriving community of black professionals and ordinary people.  From Church history, to strolling in cemeteries, to watching the calming waves of the Tennessee River.  From a ride out in the country, to the joy of finding a piece of Decatur’s history that had long been forgotten.  Decatur is home.”
With every Monday comes a new beginning and a fresh start to make this week the best one yet. This Monday, take a look around. Take in the beauty around you. It’s easy to forget that we live in an area with so much history and culture. Discover something new about Decatur-Morgan County today and let us know what this area means to you.

History, and heritage videos, photographs, downloadable brochures and additional links of interest about the Decatur area are available at the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau website, Give us a call to help plan your next adventure!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Downtown Decatur’s 3rd Friday Returns April 21

Decatur, Ala. (April 11, 2017) – Downtown Decatur’s monthly block party takes to the streets for the first time in 2017 on Friday, April 21. 3rd Friday kicks off the 2017 lineup with an Earth Day celebration, and each month through October, the monthly street party brings a different theme featuring art, entertainment, live music, a classic car cruise-in and other family-friendly activities.

Organized by the Downtown Merchants and Business Association, 3rd Friday gets underway at 5:30 p.m. and the theme for the kickoff event is Downtown Celebrates Earth Day by Giving Back. Patrons bringing canned and non-perishable food for the Neighborhood Christian Center will receive a coupon towards discounts at many participating downtown restaurants and boutiques. All donations will be collected in Jones Park. During 3rd Friday, everyone is encouraged to use the recycling bins provided by the City of Decatur.

While antique cars line 2nd Avenue, some of the area’s best musicians and entertainers will be performing at various locations. Performers slated for April 21 include the Decatur Youth Symphony at the Alabama Center for the Arts, Jack Ryan and Valerie Denny at Downtown Dawgs, Laura Alaina Key at Kathleen’s, The Chordsman at Jones Park and Dustin Allen at Gyro Uno.

A variety of activities just for children will be available including inflatables in the block of second Avenue between Moulton and Johnston; visits with Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Jack Frost, Tinker Bell, Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Spiderman, and Minnie Mouse from “Party Like a Princess”; and free fun provided by Decatur-Morgan Library in Jones Park.

Craft vendors selling handmade items and artists and artesian goods vendors will fill the area of 2nd Avenue from Moulton Street to Johnston Street. Additional store specials, giveaways, and discounts will be offered at select retailers, and many of the merchants will remain open until 8 p.m. or later.

3rd Friday is concentrated in the 2nd Avenue area only (including Holly Street, Moulton Street, Johnston Street and Grant Street). Beginning at 4:30 p.m. streets will begin to be blocked and will be closed to traffic from 5:30 until 9:00 p.m. Antique and classic cars are asked to be in place by 5:30 p.m. For more information on 3rd Friday, visit

Third Friday’s was first organized in 2009 by merchants as a way to attract locals and visitors to the downtown area. Presenting sponsor is Budweiser. Additional sponsors include Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Magnolia River, Bank Independent, Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Cook’s Pest Control, Morgan County Commission, Nucor Steel, 3M, Peck-Glasgow Insurance, Renasant Bank, Stovall-Marks Insurance and King Insurance Agency. The Downtown Merchants and Business Association wishes to thank the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department for the tremendous support they provide to the event as an in-kind sponsor.

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit its website at  

Monday, March 27, 2017

What Decatur Means to Me Monday

With Monday comes a fresh start, a new beginning. This Monday, and every Monday, we get to leave a little piece of ourselves in the week. In the world. In Decatur and Morgan County. This Monday we asked David Breland what Decatur and Morgan County meant to him.

“I am David Breland and currently the Director of Historic Resources and Events for the City of Decatur. Additionally, I am a retired District Court Judge for Morgan County.  As a life-long resident (by choice!) of Decatur and Morgan County, I believe this to be one of the finest places in the world in which to live!  It is a wonderful place in which to raise a family as it has hard working, generous and caring residents.  We have a history that is unsurpassed in the nation.  There are many interesting, educational and fun things to do with many of them being absolutely free of charge.  We have good health care, nice and inexpensive housing and both tax rates and utility rates that are far below the national average.  The cost of living makes Decatur and Morgan County a very affordable place in which to live.  It is small city living that is great with the added benefit that our location near larger cities and the good transportation to get to those cities allows us have the benefits of both smaller city and larger city experiences.  The rural areas of our county are quite beautiful as well with beautiful farms, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains throughout the county-- plus the mighty Tennessee River and its tributaries such as Flint Creek.  We don’t always appreciate it as we should, but this is a little piece of “paradise”!”   

Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful area with so much to see and do. Where else can you enjoy annual events like the Alabama Jubilee hot air balloon festival, weekly and monthly events like Third Friday Downtown, and area attractions like Point Mallard Park? Whether you are a visitor or resident, you are part of what makes Decatur and Morgan County such a special and unique destination. Start your new beginning this Monday. Visit Decatur and Morgan County, AL.

Monday, March 20, 2017

April Walking Tours

Decatur has a rich and colorful history dating back to the early 1800s. To learn more about the city’s heritage, residents and visitors are invited to take part in a casual stroll through the historic Old Decatur area. Organized by the Decatur-Morgan County CVB, the free guided walking tours are held each Saturday in the month of April and each one features a different route, theme, and tour guide.

Scheduled for April 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, the walking tour begins at 10 a.m. All tours last one hour and begin at the Old State Bank except for the April 22nd tour, which begins at the Morgan County Courthouse and will last over one hour. Knowledgeable guides will escort participants through historic neighborhoods and landmarks where they will share the history of the city and entertaining accounts of the city’s storied past. Several of the tours will also include mini tours to various museums or historic sites such as the Old State Bank, the Lafayette Street Cemetery, the Train Depot and the Morgan County Archives.

April 1 – General history tour led by Squee Bailey.

April 8 – Old State Bank, Lafayette Street Cemetery and the Train Depot tour led by David Breland.

April 15 – Historic church tour led by Phil Wirey.

April 22 – Scottsboro Boys tour led by Peggy Towns. (Tour begins at Morgan County Courthouse.)

April 29 – Historic Bank Street and Morgan County Archives tour led by John Allison.

Reservations are not required and tours are held rain or shine.

Decatur’s guided walking tours are part of the April Walking Tours coordinated by the Alabama Tourism Department. Decatur is one of 28 towns across the state participating in the annual event.

For more information, call the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 256.350.2028 or 800.524.6181.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot

The Morgan County Parks and Recreation will host a 3D archery tournament and fun shoot April 1, 2017, at West Park located in Danville, Ala. The one-day tournament is open to the public and is expected to draw up to 200 archers from across northern Alabama.
Situated along West Park’s nature trail, the tournament course layout features 20 targets, all of which will be official 2017 ASA (Archery Shooters Association) 3D targets. Each target will have a scoring area that will simulate the typical kill zone area. Each participate will have one arrow shot at each target from their designated maximum range (stake). According to ASA, ASA 3-D archery features competitive rounds of lifelike, three-dimensional animal targets made of foam. The scoring rings are not always visible from the shooting stake and binoculars are allowed. Advanced archers must determine the distance to the target, pick a good aiming point, and execute the shot.
Shooters of all ages from across northern Alabama are expected to take part in the tournament. “The West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot is an opportunity for local archers to participate in an event close to home and for serious competitors to get in a practice round or two a week before the next ASA Pro/Am,” said Morgan County Parks and Recreation Director Sean Dailey. Classes include Men’s Open, Men’s Hunter, Bow Novice, Women’s Open, Women’s Hunter, Traditional and Youth/NASP. First place prizes, provided by Van’s Sporting Goods, will be awarded at the conclusion of the tournament.
The cost to participate is $10 per person for tournament round and $7 per person for the fun shoot (non-tournament entry). All additional rounds are $5. Advance registration is not required. Admission is free for spectators. The shoot begins at 7 a.m. with the last scorecard going out at 2:30 p.m. A warm-up range/bags and concessions will be available.
West Park is located at 74 W Park Road in Danville, Ala. For more information on the West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot, call Sean Dailey at 256.560.6070.

Monday, March 6, 2017

“What Decatur Means to Me”

It’s Monday again. Suddenly, you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings. With every new beginning, there is something to be said about a place that welcomes you with open arms— a place where you can find history, arts, beauty, amazing food, great shopping, and new opportunities. Some go their whole lives without ever finding that place, the place that reminds you upon arrival that you have found your home away from home. For many others and me, that place is Decatur, Alabama.

New places can be overwhelming when you come from a small town, even frightening. But that’s what makes life beautiful isn’t it? A new adventure, a new opportunity, a new chance to become the person you’re meant to be. When you find that place, it’s a feeling like no other.

There is always something to learn and do in Decatur-Morgan County. Where else can you find annual events like The Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic, Racking Horse Spring & World Celebrations, Hartselle Depot Days, the Daikin Japanese Festival, and other one of a kind festivals and celebrations? This unique area has something to offer everyone, from families and children, history buffs, arts and culture lovers, as well as outdoor enthusiasts. With attractions like Point Mallard Park, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Delano Park, and many others, there is always a new adventure waiting to be had. There are even museums like the Blue and Gray Museum that focus on the Civil War to the Cook Museum of Natural Science that will soon be open. For those seeking arts and culture, Decatur has the Princess Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, among other attractions. Not to mention, you can find endless options to satisfy your dinner cravings. If you visit Decatur-Morgan County, be assured you will not leave hungry. It’s also the perfect place to spend a Saturday shopping. From the antique and specialty boutiques along the Historic Shopping Districts in Decatur and Hartselle, Decatur-Morgan County has a broad spectrum of shopping choices.

With every Monday comes a new beginning and a fresh start to make this week the best one yet. This Monday, take a look around. Take in the beauty around you. Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of the work week that we forget something: the area that we are privileged enough to be a part of is absolutely breathtaking. There is only one Decatur, and it’s my home away from home. What does Decatur mean to you?

Maryanne Floyd-Communications Director, Decatur CVB