February 18, 2013

Bassmaster Classic to boost region's economy

February 18, 2013 Associated Press


The Tulsa event is precedent-setting, with the announcement of the location 15 months in advance and with a local presenting sponsor, Hoyt said.

"Usually, BASS comes in with a national sponsor," he said. "For the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, the Cherokee Nation, the lake has their name on it. They are great partners and their involvement, the lift from many local corporate sponsors, is key for the success of this event and for future efforts."

The commission and community leaders worked on securing the BASS event six months before the announcement in November 2011, he said.

For more than a year, a local organizing committee with three dozen staff members and volunteers in Tulsa and Grove has been working with a $1.2 million budget with funds from the Sports Commission, City of Tulsa and private donors and in-kind services, according to committee chairman Jeff Stava.

"We've been meeting monthly for over a year and once, twice a week the past month getting ready," he said.

The early announcement allowed the committee to come together in advance of last year's event, and last year at this time committee members were in Shreveport, La., watching the Classic unfold in that community.

The experience was invaluable, Stava said.

A key takeaway played into initial discussions about a launch site working with the city of Grove, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Grand River Dam Authority and the state Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"When the layout for that ramp came together, we looked at things that worked in Shreveport, the accessibility, setting up for the event, where to put the bleachers, the satellite trucks, the tents, getting things in and out of there," Stava said.

The joint realization of the benefits such an event can bring to the area pulled together the communities and agencies not only to fund but also to expedite construction of the new facility, Stava said.

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