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Virgil Ward

Virgil WardVirgil Ward hosted the nationally syndicated Championship Fishing TV 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 - Forrest L. Wood, 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.

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.


Founder of the Bass Buster Lure Company which patented the fiber weed guard and the Beetle Spin. Virgil also created the famous marabou jig.

Mr. Ward was the recipient of fishing's highest recognition, the Dolphin Award and was included in the Living Legends of American Sportfishing. He also holds memberships in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Ozark Fisherman's Hall of Fame, the International Fishing Hall of Fame, the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and most recently the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

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."

Virgil Ward was a television pioneer, a great man, and a true conservationist. He passed away in September of 2004 at the age of 93.