A major fishing tournament that is planned for Wildwood Park in neighboring Columbia County in November has the potential for creating an area economic impact of $1.1 million, according to McDuffie County Manager Don Norton.
Mr. Norton made the statement during last Tuesday night's McDuffie County Board of Commission meeting in the county courthouse in Thomson.
He was speaking about the Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship, which is expected to draw 450 anglers to McDuffie, Columbia and Richmond counties on Nov. 10-17.
"We're proud to be getting a big fishing tournament like this to this area," said Thomson-McDuffie County Economic Development Director Mike Carrington. "It will really help our community."
Mr. Carrington explained that the fishing tournament will fill up all of the hotels and motels in Thomson and McDuffie County. He added that anglers will be coming to the area at least two weeks before so they can scout the waters of Clarks Hill Lake.
"That means they'll be staying and spending money with local businesses," said Mr. Carrington. "Our hotels and motels are already booking anglers for the week of the tournament."
Thomson-McDuffie County Tourism Director Elizabeth Vance recently secured a state grant in the amount of $14,750 and another $3,000 from the Clarks Hill Partnership to help with event funding.
County officials also have agreed to put in another $7,000 to assist with the upcoming event.
Each of the counties that make up the Clarks Hill Partnership, which is chaired by Lincoln County Commission Chairman Walker Norman, have agreed to plan tours for the families of the anglers. Aside from McDuffie and Columbia counties, the other counties that make up the Clarks Hill Partnership include Warren, Wilkes and Lincoln.
McDuffie County officials will treat the anglers and their families to a tally-ho Wagon tour, according to Mr. Carrington. It is slated for Friday, Nov. 16.