Kids stay busy at bass tourney

Saturday’s soggy weather didn’t put a damper on the fun under–and around–the kid’s tent during the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championships last weekend.
Whether they were out on paddle boats casting their lines, or enjoying one of the many on-shore activities, the numerous smiles at the Sorting Gap Marina on Saturday signaled organizers’ hard work had paid off.
“There were more kids than expected. Everyone seemed to have a great time,” said Kelly Olson, FFCBC daytime events director.
“My volunteers and team leaders were amazing,” she added.
The kids’ area opened on Thursday when organizers set up the Airbounce Inflatable Fun Park, and was packed from beginning, Olson said. She estimated there were well over 250 kids in attendance each day.
“There were half-an-hour lineups for the pizza-eating contest,” she said. “I had kids playing basketball until after 7 p.m.”
Olson noted that the few minor problems the team encountered over the course of the three days were quickly resolved, and, more importantly, barely noticed by the kids.
“We ran a little bit behind at times, partly because of the weather. But kids are kids. They enjoy it no matter what,” she said.
This certainly seemed to be the case early Saturday afternoon.
As the inflatable slide and obstacle course dried out after a morning drizzle, waiting youngsters shot hoops on a makeshift basketball court, or played under the tent with toys borrowed from the Fort Frances Toy Lending Library.
Others had their faces painted by volunteers, or tried their luck in a pizza eating contest with pies donated by Pizza Hut.
In keeping with the weekend’s aquatic theme, each afternoon featured a series of minnow races that rivaled the intensity of the competition on the water. The fish were donated by Sunset Shell on Colonization Road.
Other children’s activities included Kids Kareoke, a magic show by visiting magician Tyzen, finger painting, and the Crime Stoppers Rubber Duckie Race. In addition, many kids took part in the Kid-Pro fishing competition the weekend before the tournament. Tackle for Kid-Pro, as well as for Casting for Kids, was donated by Lucky-O-Tackle and Rainy Lake Sports.
With all this to choose from, Olson said it was hard to tell which activity the kids liked best.
“They seemed to really enjoy the airbounce equipment, but the food-eating contests were really popular too,” she reflected, adding “I think the minnow races were a big hit as well.”
When explaining what she liked best, 12-year-old Tara Kennedy was unequivocal.
“My favorite was the slide, because you just fly down and you usually hit the wall,” she said.
Saturday’s activities wrapped up with a birthday party under the tent celebrating seven years of the bass championships. Safeway donated a cake for the event.
Olson said she was pleased with how much kids seemed to enjoy this year’s activities.
“All and all it was just an excellent year,” she concluded.