Cities mull hosting 2011 professional fishing tournament

CORINTH – A group seeking to bring a professional anglers tournament to Bay Springs Lake in 2011 held its second meeting on Wednesday to map out the next steps.
Before meeting again in July the potential sponsoring communities and organizations will detail their proposals and submit them to Matt Wyatt, who is spearheading the project.
“This is a brand new possibility, something we haven’t done before, so we’re still in the early stages of discussion,” Wyatt said. “We’re trying to include several different areas and communities working together.”
Bass fishing is a profitable and popular sport, said Wyatt, director of sports development for the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. The tournament would bring professional fishermen and their families to the area from around the country to bolster tourism spending, as well as provide television exposure to a wider tourism audience and other benefits.
Officials with the city of Booneville, city of Corinth, Booneville Area Chamber of Commerce, Corinth Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, businessman Keith Vaughan have indicated strong interest in the project. Tishomingo County’s tourism council meets next week and will consider an invitation to participate.
Wyatt agreed with Booneville Chamber Director Rhonda Greening and Booneville Mayor Joe Eaton to present the project outline to the entire Booneville city board and Prentiss County Board of Supervisors.
“I think we can come up with lots of ideas for sponsorships to help support the project,” Greening said.
Corinth Area CVB Executive Director Kristy White said she got a preliminary thumbs-up from her sports and recreation committee and full CVB board.
According to information provided to Wyatt by the Professional Anglers Association, the host fee would be about $20,000 for the event, with costs to be shared by the sponsoring cities 3and other groups.
More groundwork remains, such as gauging support from advertising sponsors in the local communities, before asking the anglers association for a 2011 tournament date.
“We don’t have any standard or framework from doing this in the past so we’re proceeding carefully and cautiously,” Wyatt said, “but I’m leaning toward believing we can pull it off.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal