On April 30, 1999, my term as chairman of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship ended. The time had come for me to step aside and allow for new ideas and new enthusiasm to take the tournament to the next level.
Before I can finally feel my job is complete, I have to acknowledge the commitment so many individuals and groups have had in order to make this great event an annual attraction of huge proportions.
First, to the board of directors of the Rendezvous Trail Travel Association, Bill Boulton, Lionel Robert, and John Maffei for the original ideas and groundwork that are the foundation for the tournament that we know today.
A big thank you for the vision you had six years ago.
To the many anglers who have supported the tournament through the growing years. It was your undying support and your encouragement of new teams to join that allowed us to grow at the rate we did. It’s hard to believe in 1995 there were 47 teams and in 1999 the field was sold out before the 1998 field went to the water—and there is a large waiting list wanting to join.
To the more than 100 sponsors who support the tournament each year. Your commitment in so many ways has allowed the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship to become one of the most important fishing events in central Canada and the Midwestern U.S.
Sponsors could see the possible impact of the tournament on the community and have stayed with it through the growing years. Thank you.
An event of this size and complexity requires the assistance of so many volunteers, and each year the call for volunteers has been answered by so many. A big thank you to the 400-plus who each year give freely of their time to be a part of the bass championship, and through their help and support make this such a successful event.
I am very fortunate to have had a fantastic board of directors to work with over the past three-and-a-half years. The individual directors volunteer to participate on the board and work year-round to be sure the tournament is a success.
Individuals often put hundreds of hours into the tournament and I am proud of each one of them; their contribution has been invaluable.
Past directors included Julia Minnie, Rob Heenan, Roy McTaggart, Trevor Szmon, Pam Buttner, Julie Crichton, Gord McBride, and Dean Quinn. Thanks to each one of you for your persistence and vision of the tournament.
To the current board of Tom Drouillard, Ray Engelbertink, Forch Mauro, Doug Cain, Dianna Engstrom, Rick Socholotuk, Sherry Kaun, Jodi Nastor, Bob Kitowski, Robin Wright, Heather Herbert and new chair Rebecca Spencer, thank you for your support and encouragement. You are all truly great individuals and a super team.
We have a great product, take it full steam ahead. Thank you all.
To the citizens of Fort Frances and the district, thank you for your support of the tournament. It is seeing your participation and enjoyment of the weekend each year that makes all the work so worthwhile.
Please continue to support this and other community events—this is what makes our town such a wonderful place to live. We can put on world-class events right in our back yard.
We have a great resource at hand—a world-class bass fishery in Rainy Lake. Please look after it and it will provide us with years of enjoyment. Thanks to the MNR and Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club, who have helped the tournament look after the resource so it is available each year.
On a personal note, I thank my family for their support as I worked with the bass championship to develop the tournament. This turned out to be a family affair and I appreciate all the help.
To Mr. A.B. Carter an apology for interfering with your personal property in the 1996 tournament. It was not proper and should not have happened.
It has been my distinct pleasure to be associated with so many wonderful people who have worked so hard to develop the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. I am proud of what has been accomplished and I know so much more can yet be achieved.
Best of luck and much success to all.
John D. McTaggart
Past chairman, FFCBC