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Waddington wants to negotiate bass divisional contract

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WADDINGTON – Village officials will wait another month before signing off on next year’s 2014 Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Nation divisional.

The Eastern B.A.S.S. Nation divisional in Waddington is already being advertised nationally, but village officials are hoping to include several provisions in the contract. The changes would allow organizers to ensure the success of future tournaments, village officials said.

August’s Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown tournament, which secured over $3 million for St. Lawrence County businesses and shattered B.A.S.S. attendance records for the year, was a success, village officials said.

The eastern divisional, slated for Sept. 24 to 26, will bring close to 250 anglers – over 100 more than the Elite Series – who are looking to compete in the 2014 B.A.S.S. National Championship to the village and surrounding townships. While the event is not as well-known as the Elite, it will by no means be smaller in scale, according to village officials.

“I am already getting calls from people looking for places to stay,” trustee William E. Dashnaw said Thursday.

But village officials say the tournament, which was featured on ESPN 2 and ESPN Classic, did not adequately advertise Waddington.

“They – and B.A.S.S. agrees – did a less than stellar job promoting the host,” trustee William E. Dashnaw said. “B.A.S.S. said they would do more this time around, and I would just like to see that included in the contract.”

Village officials are also hoping to include a clause in the agreement that would allow the village to fundraise or charge for certain events during the divisional. Previously, only B.A.S.S. sponsors were allowed near the main stage and all of the events were free to the public.

Any money raised would be used to fund future tournaments, village officials said.

“I was of the understanding that with this tournament, given the size of it, that we would be able to charge, fundraise or do what we need to do because this is one where we would be able to make some money in order to help us be able to fund another Elite Series tournament in 2015,” Mr. Dashnaw said.

The $223,000 Elite Series budget was secured almost entirely through grants, donations and in-kind services.

“The village lost no money, the village didn’t put anything in this besides the DPW guys working,” Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said.

“We were told last time that the money was just going to pour in here,” Mr. Dashnaw said. “That didn’t happen. I knew it wouldn’t ,and if it was a hard job to raise that kind of money. And if it wasn’t for rooms donated by the Quality Inn in Massena, the $75,000 from St. Lawrence County, and the $45,000 from the River Agency, we would have been in a tough position.”

The village held off on passing a resolution to sign the contract until the terms of the contract could be negotiated with B.A.S.S.

“They want to work with us,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “They know we need to make money, and they do want to come back here in 2015, so it is all up for negotiation.”

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