Cabela’s walleye tourney planning starts in Lorain

By Richard Payerchin, The Morning Journal POSTED: 02/09/16, 9:30 PM EST

Metro Creative Connection Planning has started for the walleye tournament that will arrive in Lorain this spring. Organizers of the Cabela’s Masters Walley Circuit tournament have visited Lorain twice to begin working on logistics of staging the fishing contest in Lorain. “Understand, this is a big issue for all of us because we want this to come across very well,” said Rick Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority. He spoke about the tournament as part of the Port’s regular board meeting on Feb. 9. The Cabela’s tournament is scheduled for June 3 and 4, which also will be the opening weekend for the Rockin’ on the River weekly concert series at Black River Landing. Concert organizer Bob Earley has been involved with the planning, Novak said.

The tournament could bring 80 to 100 participants and have an officials start with dinner and rule meeting on June 2. It could have economic benefit totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars “because when the folks come in, they’re here a week ahead of time,” Novak said. The participants use local sources of food, gas, lodging and entertainment, he said. If the event goes well, Lorain could be in the running for a national tournament in 2017 – an even larger event that could draw up to 200 to 300 vessels, Novak said.

The Port board took no formal action but Novak notified them the tournament likely will use the Port building on Black River Lane, along with areas of Black River Landing and the Black River Wharf boat ramps off 14th Street. The Port also has some potential sponsors and is seeking more partners to contribute toward the $5,000 local cost to stage the tournament in Lorain. Anyone interested should call the Port office at 440-204-2269.

After Memorial Day, the events likely will mark the start of the summer season for Lorain – and might be fertile ground or waters for another “people attractor.” Lorain has developed an impressive number of festivals, “but there needs to be more,” said Ron Nabakowski, downtown supporter and publisher of the “Waterfront Arts & Entertainment District Intelligencer” online newsletter. “An excellent opportunity lies in the possibility of a festival to be run concurrently with the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit,” Nabakowski said in his most recent newsletter. He pitched a new “Waterfront WalleyeFest” to join the roster of downtown summer events. It was unclear who could plan the event, but Nabakowski called for suggestions from his readers on creating the event.

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