The event, which was secured through a competitive bid process, will include up to three days of practice, a welcome banquet and two days of tournament fishing with weigh-in ceremonies each day.
The local organizing committee for the event consists of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Henry County Parks & Recreation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and the Quality-Dutch Inn.
According to Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism with the EDC, “This tournament is the perfect opportunity to showcase our area’s assets and strong partnerships.” She noted that the welcome dinner for teams will be hosted at the New College Institute’s Building on Baldwin and feature a meal catered by PHCC’s culinary program. In 2015 PHCC was named among the top 10 community colleges in the nation and is home to a competitive fishing team. Jim Bove, Public Relations and Marketing Manager for PHCC said, “This is an outstanding opportunity for visitors to learn more about PHCC and the many programs available.”
At the dinner, each visiting fisherman will be given a welcome bag detailing things to see and do in the Martinsville-Henry County area. The fishermen will also enjoy a talk by inspirational speaker Mark Witt of Huntsville, Alabama.
A unique opening ceremony will be held each day of tournament fishing. On Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, Just minutes before sunrise, at 7:00 am on each morning, the 45 boats with 90 fishermen will gather within sight of the Philpott Lake Overlook. Surrounding a central boat displaying the American flag, the fishermen will pause for a morning prayer followed by the national anthem.
Rockwell remarked, “The sun coming up, lighting up the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond Philpott Lake is breathtaking and worth the early drive. To witness that as the backdrop for the opening ceremony of a championship fishing tournament while sharing a prayer and the singing of our national anthem with all the boats surrounding one with a US Flag – well – who would want to miss that!” The ceremony is open to the public but for those unable to attend, the EDC’s Tourism Division will live broadcast the ceremony via Periscope on Twitter (@MHCTourism).
The weigh-in ceremony for each day of competition will be held at Philpott Marina. From 1-4 pm a Fan Zone will be open to the public featuring lake and area information, a boating simulator, and water safety demonstrations. The fishermen will arrive at the marina for a 3:00 pm weigh-in ceremony. According to Roger Adams, Director of Parks & Recreation for Henry County, “We are excited about hosting this tournament as it is a great opportunity to showcase the beauty and amenities of Philpott Lake. This includes the new full service Philpott Marina, the great fishing for a variety of types of fish and beautiful shorelines around Philpott Lake.”
The Quality-Dutch Inn of Collinsville, which features newly renovated guest rooms, will serve as the host hotel for the event. According to Amanda Reeves, General Manager for the Quality-Dutch Inn, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to host the fishermen and help showcase the community.”