Bass tourney loses key volunteer

The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship lost a key volunteer to cancer on June 28.
Ron Erb first came aboard as a volunteer co-ordinating with Jim Brow. In that first year, Ron was able to see the jobs ahead and put the teams together throughout the days setting up the tables, reorganizing the parking, and so on.
The next year, he took on the full job of site services.
Few people probably ever saw Ron on the site as he worked in the background beginning right after Christmas. He had everything planned out well in advance, scheduling the arrival of tents, fencing, and porta-potties, as well as the connection of electrical and water services, the erection of tents, and much more.
Ron could find humour in everything. His smile seemed pasted across his face when he was working on tasks for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Probably two weeks in advance, Ron and his crew put up the bass signs around the site, and laid out the parking in the corner lot of Front Street and Minnie Avenue.
Each year, Ron seemed to find a couple of young people he took a particular interest in. They often were capable of much more than anyone recognized, yet Ron always seemed to find those young people and stretch their abilities to the utmost.
And in kind, those young people responded to Ron’s confidence in them.
No one can measure what Ron did and I suspect the tournament directors are feeling a big hole in their organization of this year’s edition. Each year, Ron organized special teams to get jobs done—the tent going up, the erection of the stage, the putting up of the fencing around the site, the positioning of the trailers, and then the tearing down and storage of everything.
In his red Chevy truck, Ron made hundreds of trips every year to the warehouse and back picking up the next set of materials for the job ahead. He didn’t want to slow his workers up.
Ron was Mr. Invisible. Even on tournament days, Ron was there at 4 a.m. and often was spotted when the music geared up for the night-time entertainment. Before sun rise, Ron was up behind the fences, checking the reefer, making sure the porta potties had been cleaned and the site was ready for the day. He would leave the site just after weigh-in and would go home, shower, change clothes and come back to enjoy the crowds from a distance.
I first met Ron about the third day of high school, and it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. In his teaching, Ron demanded the best from his students and wouldn’t accept shoddy work. He was a stickler for spelling and grammar.
When I came on board with the FFCBC directors, the old English teacher was still there, picking up punctuation and grammar errors in the minutes. But now it was done with his wry humour.
And just as he had lessons planned out during his teaching career, Ron had a four-inch thick binder put together with everything he did in rich detail. It is a complete list of every job that was required, along with timeframes and people to contact.
When I was tourney chairman, Ron would leave messages on my telephone looking for letterhead and envelopes to send out requests to sponsors. He was worried about inconveniencing me and interrupting my work.
He shouldn’t have been, but Ron Erb worried about those sort of things.
When he ended up in the hospital this spring, a young lady came in needing treatment. Ron had taught her as a substitute teacher and sought her out, offering to pay for her graduation pictures.
He really wanted to help her succeed.
Ron took great pride in helping people and the community. The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship will miss the person who did everything in the background in order to make the site both functional and attractive.

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