Waddington’s Bassmaster Elite tournament still on

Waddington’s Bassmaster Elite tournament still on

WADDINGTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The biggest fishing tournament of the summer, the Waddington stop of the Bassmaster Elite tournament, is still on.

Bassmaster organizers assured St. Lawrence County officials in a phone call Friday that they’ll follow state guidelines.

That means the tournament - which usually draws thousands of fans to Whittaker Park - will be played without spectators. It will be live-streamed and carried later on ESPN.

“B.A.S.S. has been very committed to working closely with us to ensure that they can come safely,” said Brooke Rouse from St. Lawrence County’s Chamber of Commerce.

Competitors and staff coming from high-risk states will be tested for COVID-19. They can compete each day of the tournament, July 23-26, but otherwise they must stay in their hotel rooms.

The state requires a 14 day quarantine period for the out-of-state competitors, which starts when they arrive in New York for a Bassmaster Elite event on Cayuga Lake July 14, then moves to WAddington and finishes on Lake Champlain on August 2.

B.A.SS. - the organization behind the tournament - stresses “everything we do meets and adheres to” state rules, said Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. communications manager.

That’s reassuring for county legislators like Dave Forsythe, who had his doubts going into Friday’s phone call.

“Two weeks ago they were in Alabama, one of the hotspots … and we’re going to bring all Bassmasters to New York State from a hot spot. I guess I have a real issue with that,” Forsythe said.

The St. Lawrence County legislature votes on funding for the tournament Monday night.

“It’s a production. It’s a huge media opportunity for St. Lawrence County and for Bassmaster,” said Rouse from the Chamber of Commerce.

A pro fishing tournament in Ogdensburg and two in Massena have been cancelled this summer because of COVID-19 concerns.

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