Cabela’s walleye anglers welcomed
By Katie Zerr-
Roads and parking lots in Mobridge are lined with big boats with big motors that make any angler drool as the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour professionals are scouting Lake Oahe ahead of this weekend’s tournament.
The tournament will commence Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28, on Lake Oahe as anglers from across the country compete for the prized walleye.
This is the second regular-season event of the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (CNWT). The tournament circuit features a pro-am (one professional, one amateur) style format and guarantees more than 100 percent payback.
There is expected to be 250 anglers in Mobridge for the event. In fact, evidence of the anglers presence is seen in the parking lots of the hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and bait shops. There are unfamiliar faces in stores and on the street as the anglers make themselves familiar with the community.
According to information released by CNWT officials, the average stay for an angler in a hosting city is seven days. The total economic impact of those anglers being in the community is projected to be about $260,900.
“It is not only the money generated in taxes, but also that it brings money into our community,” said Mobridge Area Chamber of Commerce Director Haden Merkel. “Those dollars are spent multiple times in our community. New dollars in our community is exciting because it makes our economy stronger.”
Merkel said that every dollar passed from the CNWT participants and organizers to waitresses, bartenders, servers and business owners is spent in the community again and again.
“I think it benefits not only the hotels, restaurants, bars and bait shops but everyone in Mobridge,” she said. “But the biggest benefit is not what they are spending, but the word of mouth the anglers are telling others all about their experience in Mobridge.”
She said Mobridge has reputation of being a hunting and fishing meca and that 3B funds used in promoting the Lake Oahe area are paying off.
“The tourism committee is exploring a four season cleaning station and another boat ramp,” she said. “But all of that takes a lot of capital to get started. But we are working on that.”
Jesse Konold, who is a member of the Chamber Tourism Committee, said the biggest thing when the area hosts a national tournament is that it showcases Mobridge as a premier fishing location.
“We have always known this is a great place to come for walleye fishing,” he said. “This solidifies that we are a place where people will catch great fish and will be welcomed into the community.”
Konold said he has already read online comments from some of the anglers who are in town about how great the support is for the tournament and how much they appreciate the way they are being treated.
“They feel they are truly welcomed and that we embrace them as our own,” he said. “We can tell them how great we are, but having them here lets us show them.”
Konold said when the CNWT is held in larger cities, sometimes there are 35 other events happening in that city at the same time. The anglers get lost in all the other activity. Here, they are the center of attention and the community is involved in the entire tournament. He said the national exposure online, on television and in magazines is priceless for Mobridge.
“These anglers are from all parts of the country,” he said. “For us to get positive posts on their websites and on Facebook is great. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.”
Registration for the event will be on Thursday, June 26, at Scherr-Howe Event Center. A pre-tournament meeting is set to start at 5 p.m.
Anglers will launch Friday and Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. from the Indian Creek Recreation Center with the weigh-ins set for 3 p.m. each day at Wrigley Square at the south end of Main Street.