Poor Boy Bass Association

Poor Boy Bass Association patch circa 1970s.

Poor Boy Bass Association patch circa 1970s.

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about old bass fishing organizations and where they fit into the overall bass fishing picture. Organizations such as American Angler, Western Bass, U.S. Bass, Bass Caster’s Association and others. Today we’re going to continue down that path and look at yet another organization, this time  the Poor Boy Bass Association out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The Poor Boy Bass Association was founded by Tom Wilson in 1973 and from what I can tell was based on inexpensive tournaments that anyone could afford. The magazines I have, (Thanks Clyde Drury) start with Volume 3, Number 6 “Classic Issue , 1977” (consecutive issue number 20) and run through consecutive issue number 27.

PBBA Fisherman's Digest Inc., Classic 1977 issue.

PBBA Fisherman’s Digest Inc., Classic 1977 issue.

Throughout the magazine you can tell PBBA lived up to its name. The magazine is printed in black-and-white – the cover being the part of the magazine with any color. Aside from that the magazine we full of tournament reports and how-to articles on the subject of bass fishing.

It appears that PBBA was a pretty large organization, hosting tournaments in 11 states from Oklahoma to Virginia and Florida to New York. As of 1977, they had 16 divisions including three in Oklahoma and four in Texas. The top-10 anglers from each division would then compete in the year-end PBBA Classic to decide who was the overall National and Team Champions. The individual who finished on top at the Classic would also be crown Classic Champion.

PBBA membership ad.

PBBA membership ad.

Membership in 1978 was $12 per year and that included the bi-monthly magazine, a patch, decals, boat protection reward and luyre and equipment offers. It also allowed you to fish any PBBA event – where the entry fees were only $20.

As Clyde Drury has written in his book, “The Books of the Black Bass,” PBBA didn’t last too long. Right around the 1979 time frame it appears they went out of business. I wonder if they got into any copyright/trademark issues with B.A.S.S. with respect to their championship being called the Classic?

PBBA Fisherman's Digest Inc. masthead.

PBBA Fisherman’s Digest Inc. masthead.

PBBA seems just like the many organizations that were and have been around since Ray Scott started B.A.S.S. They offered a good magazine, gear and tournaments that made everyone feel they were a part of some bigger entity. I’d be interested in knowing how many members they had during the 70s and also more about the organization itself. It’s too bad all that remains are a few magazines and maybe a patch here and there.

  • Don’t ask for too many names here as I can’t remember them, but they shut down in 79 due to embezzlement on the part of the owner. He owned a few used car lots in the Tulsa area. I know this because my Grandfather got second at their last “Classic” on Dardanelle. I forget exactly how much the check was for, but it bounced. Luckily another one of the competitors that placed was a state trooper in Oklahoma. The TD was arrested on his was to the airport in Tulsa.

  • Barton G. Butts

    The original owner ran a good organization however he died and another person in the organization took over and ran into legal problems concerning missing funds. Shortly there after it folded.

  • chris carver

    The original owner was Doyle Rose. He later sold to Tom Wilson. Not sure of dates, but my dad won the ’77 classic on Barkley. Won a ProCraft and a check. Had a friend pull the boat home to Oklahoma. Took several phone calls to get the check to go thru.

  • Frank Lapinski

    I fished the Poor Boy Classic in 1977 with the guy two replies up Barton Butts! We represented NY and finished 15 out of 16 states. I think we kicked Missouri’s ass! LOL It was a fun TX at Kentucky and Barkley, I met some great folks at the Classic. We had a good director in NY and he made it fun to be on the team. I didn’t fish Poor Boy after that, I moved back to Florida. Sure do miss the fun we had that year! Hope all is well with you Bart.
    Frank Lapinski