New tent for bass tournament

Local residents have come to recognize the big tent with white and yellow stripes at the Sorting Gap Marina each July as a sure-fire sign that the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is underway.
But while it may look this year to be the same tent as the one that appeared at the first bass tourney here 11 years ago, the Rainy River Future Development Corp. has, in fact, purchased a new one, which will start going up at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 20.
“Basically, we’ve replaced the tent with a new version of itself,” RRFDC economic development officer Geoff Gillon explained. “There’s no appreciable difference.
“It’s the same size, same colour.”
He noted the RRFDC had started buying pieces to repair the old tent, but eventually the board of directors decided it made more sense to buy a new tent and sell the old one.
“The board decided to start fresh for the new decade,” said Gillon.
The previous tent has been in use since the first FFCBC in 1995. Though originally purchased by the Rendez-Vous Trail, it was sold to the RRFDC about five years ago.
Since then, the RRFDC has rented out the tent for use at an estimated 50-plus events around the district, including fishing tournaments in Emo and Rainy River, the “Relay for Life” cancer fundraiser at Pither’s Point here, and various community centennial events.
“It’s been really good. It’s served the district well,” said Gillon. “It’s been positive as far as supporting events and generating economic activity.
“Frankly, I would be at a loss to guess at the number of dollars that have flowed under the tent—in excess of millions,” he added. “The bass tournaments alone are doing $300,000—so there’s $3 million in 10 years right there.
“It has definitely generated millions of dollars of economic activity through these events.”
Gillon said the new tent, which is rented out on a cost-recovery basis, cost about $60,000 (including parts and transportation).
He added it’s not meant to be a money-maker for the RRFDC, but a means to provide district economic development opportunities and support community events.
Once its $60,000 price tag is paid off, further rental fees will go towards ongoing costs, like assembly, transportation, and maintenance.
In related news, the RRFDC is looking to sell the old tent, preferably to a buyer located outside the district so as not to compete with rentals of the new one, said Gillon.
Anyone interested should contact the RRFDC at 274-3276 or toll-free 1-800-465-8502, or via e-mail at info@rrfdc.on.ca