Although the FLW EverStart Bass tournament final weigh-in was cancelled due to a snowstorm that struck on Feb. 19, survey results show the event, and a Western Outdoor News (WON) tournament held a week earlier, had a strong economic impact on Payson and Northern Gila County.
Both tournaments were held on Roosevelt Lake.
“The tournament and associated events were a huge success,” said Payson bass tournament committee chairman Jim Goughnour.
Records estimate the impact of the EverStart tournament was $535,000, which is about the same amount as the 2009 Stren bass fishing tournament.
The two-day WON contributed $122,200 to the Gila County economy and drew 100-plus anglers.
Of those anglers, 43 percent remained in the Rim Country to fish the EverStart tournament.
“That resulted in a definite increase in total days spent in Gila County,” said Coughnour
The research also shows that 137 boats (274 anglers) registered for the EverStart tournament, which is 30 more the 2009 Stren Event.
The total number of visitors for the EverStart tournament, however, dropped to 480 from the 2010 mark of 535.
There was also a 15-percent increase in the number of out-of-state anglers which Payson Bass Tournament committee members Dennis Pirch and Cameron Romance and Goughnour attribute to “the WON tournament the prior weekend.”
Survey results also show that 52 percent of the visitors stayed in Rim Country motels and dined out for 65 percent of their meals during the three days.
The final day EverStart weigh-in that could not be held at Wal-Mart due to the snowstorm was moved to Cholla Ramp at Roosevelt and drew 300 onlookers.
In addition to the WON and EverStart tournaments, an FLW College tournament was held Feb. 19 that drew 40 boats.
At the WON event, John Murray, a 46-year-old pro who has spent more than half his life competing in professional bass fishing tournaments, nipped Dean Kreuzer of Mesa by a miniscule .48 pounds to win overall honors.
Murray, of Phoenix, weighed in a 10-fish limit that tipped the scales at 27.80 pounds and was worth 125 tournament points on the WON scale.
Kreuzer boated a limit that weighed 27.32 pounds and scored 124 points.
For Murray’s win, he pocketed $7,396 in prize money, $1,000 in Top 5 option money and a designer watch valued at $400.
At the EverStart Tournament, Mesa pro Ken Howden used a powerful bass fishing technique called “flippin’,” to dominate the field, boating 56 pounds, 10 ounces of fish — a whopping 17 pounds, 15 ounces heavier than the runner-up.
For the win, Howden pocketed $32,913 in prize money.