Future of Tournament in Jeopardy

October 13, 2010.  The future of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, the most recognizable community festival in the district, depends on securing a new chairperson for the event. Tom Fry, who has served a chairman for the past three years, is retiring. Fry has been an active volunteer and part of the tournament since its beginnings in 1995.

At this point, despite approaching many individuals, advertising on radio and in the paper, no replacement has come forward.

“The problem,” explained Fry, “is simple – we do not have an incoming chair plus there are vacancies at a number of important director positions. At our most recent board meeting we decided to wind up the tournament if we could not secure a chairperson by the end of October”. Fry continued, “Shutting down the tournament due to a lack of a chairperson and directors would truly be a real loss.”

“Although we have a strong group of directors returning, without a new leader in charge and a full board to share all the work we cannot continue planning for the 2011 event. This is a serious crisis,’ stated Fry. “Without a new chairperson and a complete board the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship will be history.”

In its 16 years, over 100 individuals have served on the board and over 500 volunteers have provided their services to the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and community festival. “It is a remarkable achievement in volunteerism,” noted Fry.  “We have attracted volunteers from across North America who joined with community members and district citizens to make this the most anticipated annual community event in the Rainy River District.”

The chair’s primary duties consist of running meetings, and coordinating and supporting the board of directors.  As a member of an active board each director assumes responsibility for a specific aspect of the event.  Committees include Angler Registrations, Bar Operations, Computer Systems, Daytime Activities, Finance, Food Court Coordination, Marketing, Media Relations, Night Time Entertainment, Recording Secretary, Site & Facilities, Sponsor Relations, Tournament Operations and Volunteer Coordination.

The 2010 board pulled off a remarkable feat in moving the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship from the waterfront to the Memorial Sports Centre. Anglers enjoyed the move that quickened the weigh-in and spectators enjoyed watching the weigh-ins from elevated seating.

“The good news is the expertise of the returning and already committed new directors,” observed Fry. “We have a solid group with the knowledge and experience to advise and guide new board members. We plan to implement a ‘buddy system’ whereby new directors would be paired with returning or former board members creating a mentorship situation to ensure support and continuity. This would help to eliminate the usual need for experience in these important positions.”

An information meeting is scheduled for 6:30 PM on Thursday October 21st at the Sportsplex Board Room upstairs in the Ice for Kids Arena at the Memorial Sports Centre at which all interested volunteers will be given an overview of board structure, event operations, vacant director positions, basic job qualifications, and time commitment required. If you are interested in seeing the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship continue, we invite you to attend.  Members of the board will be available to answer all your questions.

“I would like to see one or two local competing or retired anglers attend the meeting,” Fry remarked. “There is no problem with conflict of interest; competitors serving as directors would be given ‘leave of absence’ during tournament week and most importantly would bring a fresh, ongoing perspective to board deliberations and decisions.”

“This situation is an opportunity for a new board of directors to build on a strong sixteen year history and to keep and improve what has become the area’s signature event,” concluded Fry. “It is time for the community to step up and save the bass tournament.”

For further information contact:

Tom Fry: 807-274-3584

Doug Cain: 807-274-2405
807-274-7711 Ext 4