By CHUCK HATHCOCK
For the second time in five years, Grenada and Grenada Lake will serve as host for the CrappieMasters National Championship Tournament.
The announcement was made late last week at the Grenada County Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from city and county government along with chamber members were present for the signing with CrappieMasters President Paul Alpers. Dates for the tournament will be Sept. 27-28, 2013.
Alpers said that the tournament was brought back to Grenada because of its popularity for crappie fishing and hospitality of the people.
“Grenada Lake has always been one of the favorite places for anglers to come and fish,” Alpers said. “Of course, the hospitality here is great. You like to come to an area where the fishing is really good and there is easy access to the lake. They have plenty of hotels and restaurants.”
Of all the reasons, the fishing topped the list.
“The biggest reason that anglers like Grenada is the three-pound crappie you find at Grenada Lake,” Alpers said. “These guys come from all over the country to fish. I would rate Grenada Lake the top fishing lake in the country.”
The Nationals are a 4½-day event with two days of weigh-in, a media fishing event, and registration. There will also be a meet-and-greet time. Anglers taking part in the event will be available to answer questions from the public.
Payout for the tournament will be $170,000 in cash and prizes. The first prize is two Z-7 boats with 15 horsepower motors. A total of $58,000 for first place alone.
Alpers said that better than 400 anglers are expected for the tournament in addition to their families. To make the tournament, anglers must be in the top five of the events that CrappieMasters holds in 13 states. They can also qualify through a point system that they accumulate through their finishes in those respective tournaments.
To be able to host a tournament of this magnitude, the towns must be able to meet some requirements. First, the site has to be fisher-friendly. They have to have facilities to host the pre-tournament banquet along with lodging capabilities in the town.
From a monetary standpoint, the city has to become a co-sponsor of the tournament.
“The host city funds the tournament to help bring us here,” Alpers said. “It helps to promote, advertise, and get the guys here for the tournament.”
Another added bonus for this event will be television.
During the course of the tournament, there will be two television shows in Grenada.
NB Sports with Crappietime will be here doing a show. That show will be aired twice on NBC Sports. It could potentially reach 90 million households.
CrappieMasters is scheduled to television the tournament on its channel, which can be found on the Pursuit Channel. That channel goes out to 48 million households.
The film is also edited and produced before sending it to Bass Pro Outdoor World on the Outdoor Channel.
It takes $60,000 to put a tournament like this. CrappieMasters is allowing Grenada to host the State Championships in April 2013 followed by the Nationals in September for that price.
“When you look at the sale tax figures from that event, you probably had an economic impact of 1.6 million,” Chamber Executive Director Glenn Smith said. “For the 2013 event, we expect the impact to be close to 2.5 million. You can tell that it will be money well spent.”
Grenada Mayor Billy Collins said that the city is excited to have CrappieMasters back in town.
“This is a big day for Grenada,” Collins said. “It’s a national tournament and sometimes we take that lightly. It’s going to mean a lot in terms of tourism dollars and sales tax.”
The Tourism Commission is expected to fund $45,000 while the city and county will channel in $7,500 each. This doesn’t include money for banquets during the event. Currently, the Chamber is pursuing sponsors for those events.