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Legend Biography

Virgil Ward


Champion Angler & Television Host

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Virgil Ward was a television pioneer, a great man, and a true conservationist. 
Some of his many accomplishments include:
-          Membership in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Ozark
Fisherman’s Hall of Fame, the International Fishing Hall of Fame, and
the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.
-          He hosted the nationally syndicated Championship Fishing TV
Show.  He hosted the show for 25 years, 21 of which took the number
one rating for fishing shows, according to Nielsen and ARB rating
services.  One of those years the show placed number one over 400
syndicated shows.
-          Guests on Championship Fishing included fellow anglers,
celebrities, and professional athletes. Pete Rose, Stan Musial, George
Brett, Darrel Porter, Wayne Gretzky, Roland Martin, Charlie Campbell,
Roy Clark, Dotty West, Junior Samples, Box Car Willie, Mel Tillis,
Nanette Fabray, Hugh O’Brien, Fred McMurray, and Glenn Ford all
appeared on the show.
-          Sponsors included Ranger Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Johnson
Fishing, and Berkley.
-          He was the recipient of fishing’s highest recognition, the
Dolphin Award and was included in the Living Legends of American
-          Founder of the Bass Buster Lure Company which patented the
fiber weedguard and the Beetle Spin.  He also created the famous
marabou jig.
-          From 1963 to 1964 he hosted his first TV series for the
Missouri Conservation Commission.  The shows aired on KY3 in
Springfield, Missouri.  At this same time he also taught a fishing
class at Southwest Missouri State University.
-          In 1975 Missouri’s Governor Christopher S. Bond proclaimed
October 19 as Virgil Ward Day.  Governor Bond said, “Virgil Ward,
through his many efforts, has made an invaluable contribution to
Missouri Tourism, and has made millions of Americans aware of the
world of fishing.”

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