WADDINGTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - One of the biggest pro sports events to take place in the area over the summer, the Bassmaster Series, is set to return to Waddington in a little over 2 months.
The 2020 Bassmaster season made it through its first 12 events of the season before the coronavirus outbreak brought a halt to the series.
Late last week, it was announced that the series would resume on June 10th through the 13th when the Elite Series sets up shop in Alabama.
Bass C.E.O. Bruce Aiken says that when the Bassmaster Series resumes, participants, spectators, and volunteers will see changes at each event to safeguard against coronavirus. But he hopes by the time the site one Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River takes place from July 23rd to the 26th in Waddington, some restrictions will be lifted.
“You know, at this point, you know, we’re hoping by then that things will be opened up pretty well. There may be still some things that we have to do differently, but Waddington is such a great host. You know, we certainly hope that we’re able to do most of the things that we’re usually able to do, but you know, it’s going to be a balancing act,” said Aiken.
Another thing Aiken says could present a problem is border restrictions, with participants and staff of the Bassmaster Series coming from other countries for the Waddington event.
“Which is another issue we have now, is the Canadian border crossing. We have 3 Canadian anglers, we have, you know, our emcee is from Canada as well, Dave Mercer, so you know, we’ve got that as an issue to consider. We got Japanese anglers that we have to consider getting there," said Aiken.
Aiken says the Bassmaster Series has been impressed with the way the event in Waddington is run and the support it has from the community and St. Lawrence County, adding the record crowds that have shown up was something the series didn’t expect.
“You know, I think just one the location. I was blown away the first year we went there, and it was like a population of a thousand or a little bit more in Waddington proper and the draw and the county and everybody that got behind it. And really I think there was a little competition between Waddington and Orange, Texas, too. Orange held the record before and then Waddington. So they went back and forth, but you know, it’s just great host and really that attendance is a testament to the host city. Waddington really, they do get behind it. They have a lot of activities planned and that’s what makes it. The turnout, you know, we’d have that kind of turnout everywhere, even in larger cities, if the host did half as good a job as the host there in Waddington does," said Aiken.
Aiken says he hopes to attend the event for the first time this year, and hopes to celebrate his birthday that weekend with the fans and competitors in attendance.
Area golf courses were allowed to re-open Saturday, and a number of people were taking advantage of hitting the links at the Watertown Golf Club with some restrictions.
Players had to maintain a 6 foot distance for social distancing, flags had to remain in the hole at all times, and golfers were only allowed to handle their own equipment.
Tee times are also required to be reserved in advance and clubhouses are closed to the public. Carts are limited to 1 person per cart unless the other occupant of the cart is from the same household.
The Watertown Wolves were doing some wheeling and dealing, acquiring top forward Fred Hein from the Danville Dashers in exchange for Kyle Powell and William Lamoreaux.
Hein played 2 seasons for Danville. In 2018-19, Hein had 55 points in 40 games, and this season in 45 games Hein scored 29 goals and added 27 assists.
He was named to the 2019-2020 Federal Hockey League Top Forwards list.
Hein says the trade was something that didn’t surprise him.
“Not really to be honest. You know, I spent my 2 years in Danville and I kinda just wanted a new change of scenery and I wanted to, you know, something else in my career and I made the right decision and I’m really excited about it,” said Hein.
Governor Cuomo announced Saturday that both horse racing at New York tracks and NASCAR racing at Watkins Glen will resume without fans in attendance beginning June 1st.
What that means for area dirt tracks is still unclear. Watkins Glen has already moved Sahlen’s 6 hours of the Glen from late June to October.
“If you have an economic activity that can take place but generates economic interest, also entertainment interest, right, a lot of people are sitting at home, something interesting’s on television to follow. That’s great, makes staying at home easier,” said Governor Cuomo.