FFCBC a go as new chair steps forward

Dan Falloon

The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is a go for 2011.
At an emergency meeting last night at the Memorial Sports Centre, about 15 locals heeded the call to salvage the tournament, opting to take on board positions in order to start planning for the 17th-annual event next July.
Leading the charge is Gord Watson, who will take over as chairman from Tom Fry.
Watson, who is new to the FFCBC board, won’t be completely on his own, however. Fry stressed he will be available to help with the transition, as will other experienced board members who plan to take on a smaller role this year.
During last night’s meeting, Fry hammered home the point that planning for the 2011 tournament is behind schedule, adding the new board will waste little time responding.
Its next meeting has been set for this coming Thursday (Oct. 28).
“We want to get all the information out that the tournament is a go,” said Fry.
“We have to get all the information out to the anglers as to the dates and the cost structure, and hopefully something about the prize structure and rules.
“I don’t anticipate a lot of changes in those things, so they’ll pretty much be the same as they have been in the past,” he noted.
Fry did say next year’s tournament probably will be scaled back.
The daytime activities may be scrapped while the night-time entertainment likely won’t have the star-power of years past when acts such as George Canyon and Kim Mitchell headlined the tournament.
It will be up to Watson and the rest of the board to decide which balance of fishing and other events will provide the best overall outcome for the tournament.
Fry said Watson’s first big step into his role will be to get a handle on all the facets that go into running the FFCBC.
“The community event kinds of activities, the night-time entertainment and all that, are there to support the infrastructure that’s required for the fishing tournament,” Fry explained.
“Certainly the community’s a big part of it, sponsorship-wise and spectator-wise.
“If we don’t get the spectators out, we don’t generate the income to make this thing viable,” he warned.
“We had a downturn this year with moving to the arena, and we’re hoping that we can turn it around this year.”
Watson declined to speak with the media after last night’s meeting, stressing he wanted to receive some advice from Fry regarding media relations first.
The majority of the vacant board seats also were filled at the meeting, although the role of computer services director remains open.
The person in that position primarily is responsible for preparing and overseeing the computers for the daily weigh-ins, including inputting angler and sponsorship data, inputting weigh-in data, and the set-up and take-down of on-site media.