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Anglers . . . start your engines!
Okay, okay, the Indy 500 it’s not. But the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship has evolved, since its humble beginning in 1995, to become the major event of the year here—one which countless residents eagerly look forward to each July and around which many former ones often plan their annual vacation home.
Not only does the three-day tournament attract big crowds for the launch and weigh-ins, it provides a welcomed economic boost for local businesses and an opportunity to showcase to visiting anglers and other out-of-towners the awesome beauty and fantastic fishery Rainy Lake has to offer.
It’s publicity money just can’t buy.
Unfortunately, it’s equally obvious the bass tournament is facing its share of woes. The number of teams is down considerably (from more than 150 last year to just over 100 this time around), the schedule of events has been scaled back, organizers continue to plead for volunteers even at the 11th hour, and it’s understood a new chairman will be needed to take over the helm for next year.
Then there’s the contentious decision to move the weigh-ins and nightly entertainment from under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina to inside the Memorial Sports Centre. There’s no question the atmosphere of the riverfront location will be sorely missing, and that may impact attendance. Having to trailer boats back and forth has the potential to pose some problems, as well.
But the lack of volunteers to help with the set-up and take-down of the tent—not to mention other logistical problems and costs—left organizers with really no other choice.
Frankly, the success of the bass tournament ultimately rests with the community. The board of directors works tirelessly year in and year out to stage the FFCBC for everyone to enjoy, but there’s only so much it can do. What’s truly needed is for people to support it, whether participating as a team, attending the weigh-ins and nightly concerts, lending a helping hand, or just taking the kids to “Daytime Land.”
The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is an important fixture here—and should be a source of community pride. Whether there’s a 17th-annual tournament in 2011, however, very well may hinge on how the next three days play out.
It’s up to residents to show they want to see it thrive for years to come.