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Elite Bassmasters Tournament coming to Waddington

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Elite Bassmasters Tournament coming to Waddington
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It's one of the poorest counties in the state, but there is some good news for St. Lawrence County. The Bassmasters Elite will host a tournament in Waddington in August with the potential for millions in revenue. Barry Wygel tells us what the preparations will be in the coming months.

WADDINGTON, N.Y. -- While snow and ice covers the St. Lawrence River this time of year, come August the country's best fishermen are coming to town.

"To have them come up here, it's actually unbelievable. Normally they pick places where there is a huge infrastructure in place," said Don Meissner, project manager at FISHCAP.

But the world-class fishing the area has to offer persuaded them otherwise. Organizers say this is most likely the biggest event ever to come to St. Lawrence County.

"To have it here, not only in Waddington, but in St. Lawrence County, where we are struggling for jobs and the economy. To have this here, to bring that many people here to showcase our St. Lawrence River and what it can become and what it should become with the tourism business, it's a gift. It really is a gift for us," said Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada.

One of the biggest difficulties in hosting this tournament is going to be finding a place for everyone to stay. The thousands of spectators, the hundred fisherman and their families and the media from across the county. But organizers say they have an answer.

"What we need is all the motel owners and all the business leaders to do what they can to make sure we have the rooms necessary," said Meissner.

Organizers are also asking interested people in the community to rent their homes out for the week.

"A lot of the families, if given the choice, would love to stay in a house," said Meissner.

While focusing on the preparations for August, organizers are already looking beyond at the potential a successful tournament could bring.

"This will be the first step to maybe another tournament next year, or the year after. Maybe a little bigger, maybe a different location," said Otto-Cassada.

"If these people come here and like it, they are going to come back years to come and this revenue thing is just going to expand," said Meissner.

The tournament is expected to bring up to $3 million in extra revenue to the area.

If you live in St. Lawrence County and are interested in renting your home for the week in August, you can contact the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce at (877) 228-7810.

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