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UPDATE: Bass Elite tournament to return in 2015 to Waddington


WADDINGTON — The Bassmaster Elite will return to the north country in 2015.

Organizers are in the process of choosing a date for the tournament that will bring the world’s top 100 anglers back to the shores of the St. Lawrence River, Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said Tuesday.

“I’m very happy for the north country and St. Lawrence County, and couldn’t be happier for Waddington,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “We started out many years ago trying to make our area known for its fishing, and now here we are showing worldwide that we really are one of the fishing capitals in the world.”

More than 35,000 spectators traveled to Waddington and the surrounding areas for the 2013 Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown, which generated more than $1 million in tourism dollars for the north country.

“We couldn’t have done it without the hard work of Don Meissner, our event coordinator Robert Giordano, Patricia McKeown, Alison Power and JoAnn Roberts for their help in advertising and putting on the Tastes and Talents of the North Country Festival, which brought whole families to our area,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said.

St. Lawrence County Chamber Events and Promotions Manager and Membership Coordinator Jo Ann Roberts said the Chamber would like to once again like to put on the festival.

“We’re obviously thrilled with the news that the Elite series is coming back,” Ms. Roberts said. “It benefited the entire area and region and showcased what treasures we have here.”

Evan Williams Showdown Event coordinator Robert J. Giordano said that next year’s bass tournament will be just as big as 2013’s.

“I am of that old school of thought, if it works for you, duplicate it,” Mr. Giordano said. “We’ll just improve on it. We’ll use the same formula for advertising and combine it with a fun, family festival with top entertainers.”

The village is already set to host the 2014 Bassmaster Northeastern Divisional Sept. 24 to 26 in Whittaker Park.

“I think that the sponsors and bass and the anglers have made it clear that they love the area and they want to keep coming back,” Mr. Giordano said.

During last year’s tournament weigh-ins, anglers remarked repeatedly about the north country’s hospitality, Mrs. Otto-Cassada said.

“BASS’s reasoning for bringing it back is that we drew the biggest crowd; we have great fishing and they anglers love it,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “The anglers have said that the north country are the best people. We make everyone feel at home and went above and beyond to make these folks feel at home and that is why they want to come back.”

FISHCAP Executive Director Donald R. Meissner, who worked with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society to bring the national championship tournament to the north country, said that the return of the Elite Series will raise the profile of north country fishing spots.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “The event was so successful that people came from all over the area came to make it happen from businesses in Ogdensburg, Canton and Massena, to support from our local legislators and organizations. That is what is necessary to make these events as successful as they are. I am hoping that everyone will come together again to make 2015’s tournament even bigger than we did last year’s.”

The contract between the village and Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society will be signed once it is approved by the village, Mrs. Otto-Cassada said.

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