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April 9, 2014

$100,000 Crappie USA Classic sccheduled October 16-18

Major tournament will spotlight Lake Cumberland

Somerset — Crappie USA Inc., America’s premier national crappie fishing tournament organization, will hold its prestigious $100,000 Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic on Lake Cumberland October 16-18.

This is a really, really big deal,” says Carolyn Mounce, executive director, Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Classic, hosted by the Convention & Visitors Bureau, will bring between 125-130 two-person fishing teams – about 260 fishermen – more than 40 percent of whom will bring their families, to Lake Cumberland this fall for a Thursday through Saturday fishing event. The fishermen are from more than 20 states.

It’s also really a big deal for fishermen who can win $100,000 in prizes, and two fully equipped Bass Boats will be given away, Mounce said.

“We want to fish on Lake Cumberland,” fishermen told Mounce when she spoke to a Crappie USA group at Paris Landing, Tenn., urging them to hold the Classic in the Somerset-Burnside area. Two qualifying events were held on Lake Cumberland in 2012 and 2013 while the lake level was still low.

“Fishermen spend money ... on tackle, bait and food,” said Mounce. “They will fill our motels and their families will shop at our stores. There is much more here than just the lake,” Mounce declared.

Mounce said Paris Landing, Tennessee had a $1.2 million boost in its economy from the Crappie USA Classic. “The event will have a huge, huge impact on this area’s economy,” she promised.

“Of course, the lake this fall will normally be lower than during summertime, but Classic fishermen are pre-fishing the lake now ... they are going to see a full lake,” said Mounce. Fishermen must qualify to fish in the Classic, and qualifying events will be held in 22 states prior to the big event here this fall.

Crappie USA held a qualifying event April 5 on Lake of the Ozarks at Osage Beach, Missouri. Anglers from different states were competing for not only cash and prizes, but a chance to advance to the prestigious Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic on Lake Cumberland. On April 26, another qualifying event will be held on Green River Lake in Taylor County near Campbellsville.

Lake Cumberland, for the first time in eight summers, will be at pool stage during the 2014 tourist season. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced March 25 that Lake Cumberland would immediately return to normal operation after being held about 40 feet below normal during rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam.

The lake is rising rapidly. At noon Wednesday, the water was at 715.80 feet above sea level, some 7 feet below the tree line at 723 feet. The water had risen about half a foot during the previous 48 hours.

Hungry crappie live in Lake Cumberland. Fifteen or 20 boats with two fishermen in each boat were observed at noon Wednesday west of the causeway leading to General Burnside Island State Park. During the past seven summers, this part of the lake surrounding the state park was bare ground.

Fishermen participating in the Classic may fish anywhere on the 101-mile-long lake, but they must return to the launching ramp at General Burnside Island State Park for weigh-in. Registration and Saturday night’s prize-awarding banquet both will be held at Beacon Hill Baptist Church.

The Crappie USA Classic is already paying off in publicity, Mounce said. The event has a two-page spread in 400,000 brochures distributed in 22 states and is currently being advertised on seven radio stations in the South and Southeast.

“The Classic is expensive to host, but no way could we have the money to generate the publicity about our lake they we’re getting from the Classic,” Mounce commented. She said Burnside is helping some with financing and local businesses will be contacted to assist with the sponsorship. Money from the state for tourism events has been drastically cut because of budgetary woes, she added.

 

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