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St. Lawrence County considers money for Bassmaster Elite Series

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators are considering using up to $60,000 in unallocated tribal compact funds to help Waddington host the Bassmaster Elite Series because the tournament could become a boon to the local economy.

The compact money is intended for economic development.

“The people of St. Lawrence County are the ones that will benefit the most,” said Deanna Shampine, whose last official act as the event coordinator was making a pitch to legislators for a donation. “It’s way beyond Waddington. We are all the hosts of this event.”

Robert Giordano is taking over the duties of Ms. Shampine, who will remain involved as a committee member.

More than 100 professional anglers are expected to start off the tournament Aug. 8-11, which has a $600,000 prize. Thousands of fishing fans and national media are expected to accompany the anglers.

The St. Lawrence River match-up is one of eight contests in this year’s Bassmaster Elite Series and the only one slated for the Northeastern United States.

The tournament is the first time Waddington has been a host.

The village is responsible for a $60,000 host fee. Organizers have raised around $42,000 but are projecting they need a total of about $165,000 to cover all costs.

Volunteers are raising money through business donations, community fundraisers — such as trivia nights — and the sale of raffle tickets and T-shirts.

“We’ve never stopped fundraising. We’ve been pounding the pavement,” Ms. Shampine said. “We need to keep plugging away.”

Some people think that the county Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the tournament. That is not true, but Waddington is using the services of some Chamber employees, Ms. Shampine said.

Many legislators support Waddington’s goals.

“St. Lawrence County stands to profit from this collectively,” Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, said.

It is unusual for a community the size of Waddington to be considered for such an event, Legislator Sallie A. Brothers, D-Norfolk, said.

Lawmakers are expected to make a decision soon on whether to provide the money.

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