Montgomery economy gets million dollar boost

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

Hook.. line.. sinker. It's a fisherman's paradise this weekend on Lake Jordan in Wetumpka. The ESPN-BASS Angler of the Year Elite Series is there. And the biggest catch of all may be the economic impact of the tournament which wraps up with the finals next week in Montgomery.

The top prize in the tournament is $200,000 but the real pay off may be on dry land. While the 12 fishermen try their best to catch a lot of big ones on Lake Jordan, Montgomery has already snagged the bigger prize.

City leaders and ESPN say by the time all of this over with next week, the overall impact should be $1 million, a hard number, not wishful thinking, according to Carol Gunter, Media Relations Administrator for Montgomery.

"In addition to the anglers, you have their handlers, the promotions people and those in production. In all you're talking about 300 people associated with the tournament and that doesn't include families and fans," said Gunter.

The Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Montgomery is the host hotel.

Trip Weldon says bringing the BASS tournament to the city made all the sense in the world.

"It started in 1968 and the Riverfront has so much to offer. You have a lot of outdoor enthusiasts here," said Weldon, Tournament Director for BASS.

Lake Jordan in Wetumpka this weekend and the finals beginning next Thursday on the Alabama River in Montgomery, an economic gift many hope will keep on giving.

"This will the pave the way for more ESPN events," said Gunter.

One possibility is landing the College Angler of the Year next April in Montgomery. Right now Montgomery is battling with a city in Arkansas for the competition.

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