Bassmaster tournament moving from Waddington to Clayton

WWNY Bassmaster tournament moving from Waddington to Clayton

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A big bass fishing tournament held annually in St. Lawrence County is moving to Jefferson County.

B.A.S.S., the organization in charge of the event, announced the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite competition will be held in Clayton.

It was originally scheduled to be held in Waddington, home to the event since 2017.

The move from Waddington to Clayton all stems from the cancelation of a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Cayuga Lake.

The tournament in Union Springs, New York was scheduled to start Tuesday and run through Friday.

St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chair Joe lightfoot says at that tournament, anglers and staff would have already had a round of COVID-19 testing under their belts before coming to St. Lawrence County.

Now that won't be the case and the tournament participants aren't able to meet St. Lawrence County's rules so B.A.S.S. officials made this decision.

The reason Clayton can hold the tournament? Jefferson County doesn't have any extra restrictions on professional sport teams coming to the area other than what New York state requires.

Also, Jefferson County will use rapid COVID-19 testing, giving results on the same day.

"If they're coming from affected states that have under the quarantine, that they will be to and from wherever they're staying. First of all they'll be tested. Second of all, they'll be just to and from their boat," said Jefferson County Legislature Chair Scott Gray.

"I think that, out of an abundance of caution, we were looking to make sure that we were able to control the movements and do everything but eliminate the risk of exposure to anyone not associated with that tournament. And it was B.A.S.S's decision to not continue moving towards Waddington," said Lightfoot.

Even though this one got away from Waddington this year, don’t cut the line yet. A spokesperson for B.A.S.S says it’s still putting its 2021 schedule together and it’s likely the big fishing tournament will return to Waddington next year.

The SiteOne Bassmaster Elite competition will be held in Clayton between July 23 and 26 with daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.

B.A.S.S. said it's hosting the event in cooperation with the village of Clayton and the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

The organization said it's working alongside local hosts and officials to develop new competition plans that adhere to strict health and safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York state recently released guidelines for professional sports competitions which include diagnostic testing and protocols for daily health screenings for all athletes and staff, along with a host of other safety and social distancing measures.

Under these guidelines, no fans or spectators are allowed to attend events, even those held at outdoor venues. In the past, the tournament drew thousands of fans to Whittaker Park in Waddington.

There will be live coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3.

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