The fishing tournament circuit pumps money into Rainy River District each summer and, equally important, offers an opportunity for the host towns to showcase their respective communities.
As such, kudos to the board of directors for its work in ensuring the Emo Walleye Classic is being held for a 16th year.
With 33 teams registered as of press time, and the possibility of more signing up before the anglers hit the waters of the Rainy River on Friday morning, it's great to see that the EWC continues to carry on—and hopefully grows back to the numbers it once enjoyed at the height of its popularity.
The key to staging a long-running successful event, of course, is volunteers. Fortunately, people stepped up to fill positions vacated by the departure of several long-time directors.
Besides fresh energy, new blood also means new perspectives and ideas. For instance, the inaugural “Kids Gone Fishing" event, modelled after the "Kid-Pro” tournament held in conjunction with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, will see students from Donald Young School, Sturgeon Creek, and Crossroads partner with EWC participants tomorrow from noon-3 p.m.
As well, the annual parade of boats is being replaced by an “Angler Meet & Greet,” which is set for tomorrow from 4:30-6:30 p.m. along Front Street in Emo.
The board also made the right move in deciding against allowing teams to also launch from Fort Frances and Rainy River, not just Emo. As Allison Cox, director of marketing and nighttime entertainment, correctly pointed out, it would a nightmare from a logistical and volunteer standpoint, not to mention a safety hazard posed by people “whipping up and down the highways hauling their boats just to get to the weigh-ins in time.”
And besides, it is the Emo Walleye Classic—as Ms. Cox reasoned—and so should remain centered in that community.
Good luck to all the anglers competing this week, and best wishes to all the organizers and volunteers for a smooth tournament and the co-operation of Mother Nature.
Thanks, especially, to all those who give their time to ensure the fishing tournament circuit stays strong right across the district.