|County commissioners consider catfish tourney
Loudon County Commission at its October meeting will entertain a motion to contribute $5,000 to host a Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail two-day super event in Loudon.
Commissioners at Monday’s workshop discussed the possibility of bringing the outing back after taking a year off. In total, the tournament costs $10,000. Loudon County Visitors Bureau offered Cabela’s $5,000 for the tournament a year ago, but the group declined.
“If we can do things at both ends of the county to promote tourism I think that would be fantastic,” David Meers, commissioner, said. “If we can promote tourism in Loudon, the city of Loudon and Lenoir City, I think it’d be fantastic. We can work with the city and with the parks and recreation. I think it’d be great.”
Loudon City Council on Monday voted unanimously to pay $5,000 contingent upon the county’s contribution. The tournament is planned for April.
“I think it’d probably be a joint effort with us and the city of Loudon and possibly I guess the way it would be would go through the parks and rec department of Loudon,” Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw, Loudon County mayor, said.
Meers said the tournament has the potential to benefit all parties involved, which is why he asked for the item be placed on the Oct. 2 meeting agenda.
“A good enough turnout, especially if it built up nicely, you would see hotels at both (Highway) 72 and (Highway) 321 at their capacity,” Bradshaw said. “The different restaurants, people are going to have different tastes and they would eat at different restaurants throughout their stay. Whether it’s buying gas, buying bait in Loudon or buying supplies at Walmart, I think it just would help our whole county out.”
Mark Harrell, Loudon Parks and Recreation director, said during the council meeting that a good turnout for one of the tournaments is about 55 boats.
Commissioner Van Shaver doesn’t believe the tournament makes sense from a financial standpoint.
“No government makes any money on a fishing tournament,” Shaver said. “I did the math on it — hotel/motel tax, gas tax — I mean we were giving $10,000 and getting back $1,800 maximum. If Loudon city wants to do this or participate, I think that’s a fine thing. ... I can’t support putting more money into it.”
Bradshaw said Cabela’s officials have extended the deadline to book the tournament to see if the county wants to participate in the spring.
“I just I believe in our little county that much,” Bradshaw said. “I think we get folks here, and I think we’re going to get them back, whether it’s somebody that relocates to here or whether they come back multiple times in the future to fish. They see the fish we have here, the different scenery, the different opportunities to get out and about here in Loudon County, I think we can get them back from the tourism standpoint.”