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Important role to play

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For those who love the thrill of competitive fishing, you can’t beat the open-water season here in Sunset Country with all the tournaments on the calendar.

There’s the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and KBI. The Emo Walleye Classic and the Rainy River Walleye Tournament. Not to mention the myriad of others—from “Castin’ for Cash” on Lake Despair and the Rainy Lake Fall Classic at LaBelle’s to “Bassin’ for Bucks” in Sioux Narrows, along with ones in Morson, Stratton, and throughout the region.

They offer local residents the opportunity to vie for cash prizes and the all-important bragging rights while providing an economic boost for the host communities with the influx of anglers and spectators.

And by often drawing anglers from outside the region, they promote our pristine beauty and bountiful fisheries in a way that money just can’t buy, which serves to attract even more visitors (and their wallets) to the area.

Equally clear, though, is the tremendous amount of work it takes to stage these tournaments. And quite frankly, they wouldn’t exist if not for the efforts of volunteers who spend months planning for them and then very long days during the actual event making sure everything runs smoothly.

One big challenge, of course, is the constant need for “new blood” to avoid volunteer burn-out. Another is coming up with new prizes to entice teams to enter and new activities to bring in the crowds—made all the more difficult if all the work falls on the same shoulders year after year.

Kudos to the organizers, anglers, sponsors, and spectators whose support has allowed our many local tournaments to persevere. They play an important role in our district’s fabric and economy, and hopefully they all keep going for years to come.

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