By JIMMY LAWTON
WADDINGTON -- It’s the fish, the community and the satisfied anglers that scored the Village of Waddington another opportunity to host the Bassmasters Elite Showdown.
Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada said she was ecstatic when she received an email stating that Waddington was offered another shot at hosting an elite series tournament in 2015.
“They said it was three things that brought them back. One was the fish. The second was the people who were able to make the tournament so successful and third was anglers. They really liked it here. They felt at home there,” she said.
She said preparations are already underway for a Bassmasters North Eastern Division tournament, which is a smaller, but significant event set for September.
“We are hoping to do as much as we can for that event. It won’t be as long as the elite series, but we still plan to have craft shows, entertainment and vendors,” she said.
As for the return of the Elite Series in 2015, Otto-Cassada is hopeful businesses, community members, economic development agencies and municipalities will be as helpful as they were in August of 2013.
“We took a chance the first time and it was huge success,” she said.
Otto-Cassada said this year the village has more time to plan and fund raise for the event, which should make things a little easier.
She is also hoping for the same support she had last time. She said the event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Bob Giordano, Don Meissner, St. Lawrence County, the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency and a variety of volunteers and businesses.
“Everyone really came together to make it happen,” she said.
Otto-Cassada said Waddington is growing in popularity and is being discovered as a fishing destination by more anglers every year.
She said a carp tournament that was formerly held in Chicago recently decided to relocate to Waddington. That tournament is expected to bring 50-70 anglers along with friends and family members.
She said the town’s second-place finish in two Fishing Town USA online voting contests helped put Waddington on the map and the success hasn’t stopped since.
“I am just glad for everyone. I am ecstatic for the village of course and I am happy for St. Lawrence County. It’s really a great thing for the North Country,” she said. “I hope our relationship with the Bassmasters continues for years to come.”