KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Bassmaster Classic is taking over Knoxville, with an estimated 140,000 people expected to be lured in.
Thousands visited the tournament's expo set up in the Knoxville Convention Center to shop, socialize, and watch the tournament on the big screen.
Local fishing enthusiasts, like Troy Lopez from Oak Ridge, said this is a can't-miss event.
"The day I heard about it, I put in my vacation time at work to make sure I get it off," Lopez admitted. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me."
Fans at the expo who decided to sit and watch the event unfold said there's just something about watching your favorite sport with like-minded people.
"I want to watch it here," Lopez confessed. "I watch it at home, but this is just the experience you want."
It's the closest they can be to the action without touching the water, according to California native Wayne Antoine.
"I don't have my boat, so I can't follow him around, so as I'm shopping, I'll come over here and look to see what the standings are," Antoine admitted.
Antoine and some friends flew all the way across the country to support their favorite front-runner.
"Three of us we flew out here from San Francisco to come support Mark Daniels Jr. because he's an old club member of ours," Antoine explained.
Lopez noted 2019 was his first Bassmaster Classic in-person experience, and at the first night of weigh-ins it all hit him.
"I got very emotional," Lopez admitted. "Like these fishermen talk about, you know just to be at the Bassmaster Classic, I started to tear up a little bit. I don't mind saying it. I got emotional."
Most of the fans say they could care less how they see the action.
"It's what I love. It doesn't matter how I'm gonna watch it. I'm gonna watch it," Lopez explained.
Larry Young from Georgia says it's all about who they see the action with.
"That's what it's all about," Young said. "Fishing and great friends. That's what it's about."
You can watch the daily events live and keep up with the standings here.
The last day for the tournament is Sunday, March 17.