Welcoming The Cyclists, But Not The Fishermen - And Response (7)

Friday, February 8, 2013

I was perusing the local online news as I normally do while eating my lunch, when I happened upon an article on the WRCB website. Chattanooga is bring Pro Cycling to Chattanooga around Memorial Day.  It simply amazes me that that Chattanooga’s get so excited over something that barely brings any money to our local economy.  

Oh sure, the folks that are here to compete, will eat, drink, and probably have a 2-3 night stay. Other than that what do they bring? I’m sure that some of the enthusiasts will say that there will be hundreds of spectators lining our art filled streets, but hey those, people have to eat anyway, and probably live here so it’s not like they are bringing any extra money to town.

By now many readers are wondering “what’s his beef with cyclists?” ….actually nothing at all.

My complaint is that Chattanooga sits right on the water, in some of the south’s prime fisheries, and yet when an opportunity comes around for a major bass fishing tour to come to our town, they are turned away? What are you people thinking? They bring more money than a lot of these other sports ever thought of bringing. 

These guys usually are here for a week, buying enormous amounts of fuel, food, lodging, tackle, license, not to mention, they are bringing film crews, who by the way, usually do a piece on the city that they are in. A lot of the guys travel with family, whom also visit the local shops, and attractions. 

Currently there are two major tours, that have multiple tournaments a year, and often times come back to locations year after year. I imagine folks are saying to themselves, “who wants to watch someone weigh in fish?” Hundreds of us here that fish would love to, not to mention folks from neighboring towns in Alabama and Georgia, which also by the way, would spend money.

Chattanooga’s marketing people love to boast about us being a vacation “hot spot,” a cool city with cool attractions, a place to raise your family, yet when mention fishing or hunting, its kind of under their breath, like it’s for special folks..(rednecks). Rednecks have money too. Last year the FLW Circuit brought an open event to Chattanooga. In 2013 they wanted to have a Pro/Am event here, the full blown production, because the fishing is so good….guess what, they had to resort to the small town of Dayton, nearly 40 miles away. Personally, I hope everyone involved stays in Dayton and spends every nickel up there. Us “rednecks” would certainly not want to take up any parking, or fill ya’lls favorite eatery, or even get in your way. 

Go watch the cyclists, rowers, and whatever else ya’ll think is for the upper class citizens to watch.

Mark Riggs 

* * * 

Mark Riggs has a great point: we do need more variety in the major events Chattanooga hosts. In fact, I imagine most Chattanoogans would welcome more variety, regardless of whether they're "upper class" activities.  

But apparently Mr Riggs doesn't understand that those things don't come about because people sent strongly-worded emails to the Chattanoogan, but rather people got up off their lazy butts and volunteered their time and effort to get those events here. So to anyone else wanting those types of activities: Go for it! 

Call up the Downtown Partnership, or the Chattanooga Chamber, or Chattanooga Presents, or Outdoor Chattanooga. Get your like-minded friends to call them too. Call those organizations up and tell them your ideas, and then offer your time to help make those ideas happen. That's how all those other events came to Chattanooga - people actually got up and made them happen.


Damon Crumley

* * * 

As a middle class citizen of Chattanooga I now worry that I will not be able to attend the cycling championships in May since I don't qualify as an, "Upper Class," citizen according to Mark Riggs. Will the by-standers be required to bring an audited financial statement for the police to view before one can watch the cyclists coming by. And what is the qualification to be an, "upper class," citizen.  Would it be a net worth of $250,000, $500,000, or, gasp, maybe we should require one to be a millionaire to watch. 

On the other hand, I guess anyone could watch Mark's beloved fishing tournament. Or maybe we should put a limit of a $50,000 net worth for anyone to watch the anglers. Now class warfare has extended to watching sporting events. Is this a great country or what? 

Douglas Jones
North Chattanooga

* * *

Dear Mr. Riggs,

In response to your comments about cycling, fishing and other outdoor events, I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Chattanooga Sports Committee and the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. We work every day to pursue traditional and non-traditional sporting events, meetings and conventions as well as leisure travelers. We evaluate all opportunities – anything that has the potential of leaving an economic impact in Hamilton County. Over the years, we have hosted numerous fishing events and we’re looking forward to evaluating future opportunities.

It’s important for us to draw events that will leave tourist dollars in our community. In turn, we as locals, can experience a higher quality of living. The nearly one billion dollars that tourists spend in Hamilton County directly contributes to assets we enjoy like the revitalized riverfront, attractions, restaurants, Riverwalk and parks. The money tourists spend also contributes to more than 8,500 full-time jobs in the tourism industry and lowers the taxes we pay to live in Hamilton County. Where does this money come from? It comes from tourists spending the night in our hotels, having events at our facilities, eating at our restaurants, visiting our attractions and shopping in our stores.

I can assure you that the business we book makes sense for Hamilton County and we will continue to pursue any and all events that will bring money here. I thoroughly believe in local lead generation so if you, or anyone, have a specific event or group that you want to see in Chattanooga, please contact either of us and we will be happy to discuss the group with you.


Tim Morgan, President

Chattanooga Sports Committee


Bob Doak,President & CEO

Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau


* * *

Simple. Bicycles are cool, fish are slimy. 

Jim Stevens

* * * 

I know fish are slimy, Mr. Stevens....but I'm not so sure about bicycles being cool. At least not all of them.  

I've never had fish to swim in groups up the river and hold back boat traffic just because they were too self-centered and discourteous to move over.  I've never seen a fish wear skin tight neon Spandex just to show off their gills.   

I've never had a fish cut in front of me, nearly causing me to crash my boat or hit the fish.  I've never had a fish give me the "one-fin" symbol just because I had no choice but to pass by it closely due to oncoming boats. 

Overall, I'll choose fishermen over cyclists any day.  Most fisherman are courteous and obey the rules of the water. A fishing license is a "privilege" we pay for, not a "given-right" like cyclists who don't even adhere to the same traffic laws as automobiles.   

One more thing...Bill Dance or Roland Martin never got busted for using "performance-enhancing" drugs to catch more fish.

Tom Donelson

* * *

Could not disagree more. Fisherman don’t run red lights.

Donny Armstrong

* * *

How about folks that want a fishing tournament quit drinking beer and watching fishing shows all day and organize themselves and present something to the Chamber of Commerce? Get some smaller events in this town and work your way up to something bigger.

I know it's easier to sit and make fun of others, but you'll be in the same boat 10 years from now if you don't organize. That's the key.

Herb Montgomery

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