The event, which was secured through a competitive bid process, will take place on Philpott Lake September 27 through October 1 and bring in 90 visiting fishermen with 45 boats.
This past September, Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism for the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Billy Russo, Director of Operations for the Smith River Sports Complex both traveled to represent Martinsville-Henry County and the state of Virginia at the ConnectSports Marketplace in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
During this tradeshow, Doss and Russo met face-to-face with more than 70 sporting event planners, including representatives from the Fishers of Men, to find viable prospects for local venues. In the months following the Marketplace tradeshow, both Doss, Russo and their respective staff have been actively researching and pursuing prospective events. Russo has focused on events specifically for the Smith River Sports Complex and Doss focused on other venues such as Philpott Lake and Hooker Field. “Typically, the winter months are slower for area visitation and tournaments, Doss said. “So that gives us a good block of time each year to really devote to the bidding process.” Doss added that the bid process involves researching past events, securing partners and funding for the local organizing committees (LOC), and preparing proposals to submit.
Roger Adams, Director of Henry County Parks and Recreation, oversees the operation of Philpott Marina and has volunteered to serve on the local organizing committee for the tournament. “We’re delighted to have this event at Philpott Lake. The event will bring additional revenue to Philpott Marina and draw positive attention to the great fishing at Philpott Lake.”
According to Craig “Rocky” Rockwell, Operations Project Manager for Philpott Lake, “This is good news for Philpott Lake and a great opportunity for the community” Rockwell and his staff with the US Army Corps of Engineers also serve on the LOC and have granted an official user permit to hold the event.
The Fishers of Men Championship is a family friendly event and surveys conducted by past host locations indicate that each fisherman brings on average 3 guests with them to support and watch the weigh-ins. The event will feature three days of open practice followed by two days of competition and two public weigh-ins. The fishermen will stay at the Quality-Dutch Inn during their visit, which has been selected as the host hotel. According to Bill Bouvier, General Manager for the Quality-Dutch Inn, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to host the fishermen and help showcase the community.”
Prior to the competition days, all fishermen will attend a welcome dinner, presented by Patrick Henry Community College’s Culinary Program.
Additional members of the local organizing committee include representatives from Patrick Henry Community College’s Bass Club and Angler’s Choice Marine.
Shortly before local officials learned that MHC was selected to host the event, the January 2016 issue of SportsEvents Magazine hit newsstands. This national publication showcases potential locations for sporting events to take place and it featured Martinsville-Henry County, the Smith River Sports Complex and Philpott Lake and Marina in an article as Featured Destinations. According to Doss, “This national attention, is great for the area and keeps us on the radar of prospective event planners.”