Outdoor Heritage, Inc., the circuit announced last summer that was set up to fill the void of high-level competition in the West, is disbanding a month and a half ahead of its first scheduled event.
OHI, with an investor group headed up by Gary Dobyns (the region's all-time leading money-winner), was slated to conduct its first event Feb. 8-10 at California's Lake Shasta. Four events were planned for both the North (northern California) and South (Arizona and southern Nevada) pro-am divisions, along with a five-tournament team division in northern California.
Several tour-level pros, including John Murray, Jared Lintner and Cliff Pirch, had told BassFan of their plans to compete in OHI events.
BassFan received the following release from OHI today (reprinted in its entirety):
From its launch 13 months ago, Outdoor Heritage (OHI) was a bold experiment in western tournament fishing and a valiant effort at angler promotion and payback. Unfortunately, we have not been able to garner enough sponsor support to sustain the business model or a reasonably reduced version of that model.
The current economic situation, recent election and regulatory environment have dissuaded boat, motor and industry-related sponsors from deepening their investments in California. Therefore, we will take the very best of what we have learned at OHI and apply it in our various fishing endeavors.
We thank the anglers who supported our efforts in this project and encourage them to support our other western circuits if tournament bass angling is to survive in the western United States. We also look forward to supporting the existing regional and national organizations that continue to operate in the West and hope there will be more to come. Full refunds of entry fees, deposits and memberships will be issued prior to Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.
For questions, email email@example.com. Our website will be taken down in conjunction with this press release, but we will keep the above email address operational until February 2013 to ensure there are no issues with angler refunds.