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Bassmaster Series the result of a year and a half of hard work

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WADDINGTON - The Bassmaster Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River, which begins Thursday in Waddington, is the culmination of a year and a half of hard work.

“The process started last year,” Eric G. Lopez, director of events operation at BASS, said. “Normally, it takes a year or two to plan an event of this size and scale—these anglers are the best of the best, the same ones you see on ESPN and ESPN2.”

Robert J. Giordano, event coordinator, said representatives from Bassmaster fell in love with Waddington as a host site immediately upon seeing it last May.

“We beat out a lot of other communities across the country who wanted the event,” he said.

Mr. Giordano said the event has seen solid community support, with local businesses working out parking issues and NYSARC and Madrid-Waddington Central School providing transportation to and from the event.

Roughly 115 vendors will also set up during the event for the Tastes and Talents of the North Country Festival that will run simultaneously with the fishing tournament, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Events and Promotions Manager Jo Ann Roberts said.

“I really have to applaud the local host community,” Mr. Lopez said. “I am excited to say the number of vendors will be the highest that we have ever had at a tournament. That accomplishment in and of itself is huge, and we’ve communicated that to the pros.”

Mrs. Roberts said the festival will feature local crafters, artisans, food and wine producers and local businesses.

There will also be bouncy houses for the kids, horse and carriage rides and a breakfast buffet hosted by the American Legion every morning of the festival from 7 to 11 a.m.

“Waddington is going above and beyond the expectations that we have set for them,” Mr. Lopez said.

Mrs. Roberts said the festival will also showcase a number of local and national music groups including the Acoustic Brothers, Waydown Wailers, Bucky Covington, Crunchenstein, the 10th Mountain Division Band and Jason Michael Carroll.

The full list of bands and events can be found at northcountrybass.com.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Mrs. Roberts said.

The festival and tournament will also be supported by local law enforcement.

Joseph M. Gilbert, director of emergency services for the county, is coordinating efforts by the coast guard, customs and border protection, state police, the sheriff’s office, state park police and emergency medical services during the event, Mr. Giordano said.

“For them it’s like a giant exercise,” he said. “They are going to have a presence from the reservation all the way down to the Great Lakes.”

Mr. Giordano said he hopes this event is the first of many national fishing tournaments in the area.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize the scope of the event,” he said. “It’s going to put our area on the map.”

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