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Waddington ready to welcome bass tournament

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WADDINGTON – After visiting the first 2013 Bassmaster tournament in Texas last week, coordinators of Waddington’s upcoming tournament say its community those around it are ready to host their own in August.

From Aug. 8 to 11, the Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society Bassmaster Elite Series: St. Lawrence River Showdown will bring the world’s top 102 bass anglers and their families, fishing enthusiasts, and television and production crews to Waddington’s St. Lawrence riverfront.

The Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society invited four organizers to attend the event on the Sabine River System, near the Louisiana border.

“The nice thing about it was that the tournament in Orange, Texas, is very similar to our vision for the St. Lawrence River Showdown,” coordinator Deanna Shampine said. “It was encouraging for us to see that we are on the right track as far as what we were planning.”

While the community in Texas is far larger than Waddington — with a population of 18,000 compared to Waddington’s 900 — and is better equipped to host a large event, Ms. Shampine said residents should not be worried.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an issue at all,” Ms. Shampine said. “Parking will be the biggest issue, but we’ll be looking for a bus service and shuttle service from different areas.”

Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said she would be reaching out to local law enforcement to make sure there is enough security for the event.

Ms. Shampine said she had an opportunity to talk to several of the anglers, who were excited to visit St. Lawrence County for the first time.

“Bassmaster crew and the planners and anglers can’t wait to come up to the St. Lawrence River,” Ms. Shampine said. “They have heard so much about our small mouth bass up here. But most of the anglers have never laid eyes on the river, let alone fished it. There’s excitement and buzz on a national level.”

During the event, the public is encouraged to attend the daily launches and weigh-ins and the closing day ceremony, as well as the Tastes and Talents of the North Country Festival.

“There will be plenty of events to participate in for everyone, fishing-related or not,” Ms. Shampine said.

There are numerous ways to get involved now in the St. Lawrence River Showdown, whether as a corporate and individual sponsor, a presenter or vendor at the festival, or a volunteer now and in August.

Email StLawrenceRiverShowdown@gmail.com, or contact Ms. Shampine at 323-7431 for more information.

The opening contest of the 2013 B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Elite Series will be featured on ESPN2 Sunday morning, giving St. Lawrence County viewers a chance to see what will be happening in August when the series comes to Waddington.

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