The bass tourney that was

Since I arrived in Fort Frances last September, I’ve repeatedly been informed about the highlight of the calendar year in these parts.
With apologies to our Saviour, Christmas for many people here comes in July in the form of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Never did I expect that such community-wide fervour would accompany the holding of a simple fish tournament. Yet, after experiencing my inaugural FFCBC, I have come to realize there’s nothing simple to pulling off this massive production.
From the Kid-Pro tournament the Sunday beforehand (complete with good-natured yet far too energetic anglers for this reporter at 7 a.m. on a non-weekday) to the initial set-up of the Sorting Gap Marina site, the (almost) seamless execution of the fishing tournament itself, and the final teardown, it’s an overwhelming process the tournament directors face.
That’s why, as the tournament grows, so does the need for increased volunteers. It warmed the heart to hear the announcement Saturday that no less than 611 people had lent their time to make the event as successful as possible.
That was the largest volunteer turnout yet, and represented almost 7.5 percent of the town’s roughly 8,300 residents—not too shabby.
Granted, there were a few glitches. The unfortunate cancellation of the Doc Walker concert Thursday night left frowns on a few faces. And the long break between the awarding of the FFCBC championship trophy and the beginning of the awards presentations sent more than a few people to the exits after a long afternoon in the stifling heat.
But in the end, there seemed to be more thumbs pointing up rather than down in relation to the whole affair.
I suppose for as much as the event was hyped ever since last fall, I perhaps expected a bit more energy from the crowd on site.
Certainly, the boat parade of the top 10 contenders into the big tent for Saturday’s final weigh-in carried with it the anticipated bushel of enthusiasm from the extremely vocal crowd.
But I had visions of bumper to bumper people covering the entire site, and 10-deep line-ups at the bar for the duration of every evening. Neither was apparent for the most part.
Still, it was quite the spectacle, and now I can officially say I’ve “done the bass tournament.” One more first among a host of many I’ve experienced during my Northwestern Ontario adventure.
• • •
A youth basketball camp for girls and boys up to 17 years old will be held at the Couchiching Recreation Centre on Aug. 4-8 from 1-3:30 p.m., with Muskie coach Mike Busch overseeing the sessions.
For more information or to register, call Allison Lockman at 274-0799 by Sunday.
• • •
The Fort Frances Major ‘A’ baseball team put in a great effort that unfortunately didn’t yield much in the way of results at the 23rd-annual International Youth Baseball Tournament in Thunder Bay two weeks ago.
Fort Frances went 0-5 in the event, but team spokesman Dave Sande applauded their play. He was impressed with the performance they put forward against their opposition, many of them American teams that already have played close to 50 games this season.
The local minor baseball season is now complete for another year, with play to resume again next spring.
• • •
In recent action in the Fort Frances adult slo-pitch league, the Rockets downed Manitou 14-11. Ben Rempel picking up the win on the mound while Mel Petkau nailed an inside-the-park home run.
Manitou rebounded for a 10-0 win over the Bay City Rollers, handing the Rollers their first loss of the season.
If you are planning any sporting events, or have some sports-related information or scores, feel free to call me at 274-5373 ext. 237 or by e-mail at jpayeur@fortfrances.com

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