West Memphis to benefit from Memphis fishing expo, tourney

West Memphis to benefit from Memphis fishing expo, tourney

Bass Pro Shops' Mississippi River Monsters Catfish Tournament & Expo will be a boon to local hotels, restaurants


Thousands of spectators and hundreds of anglers are expected to take part in the Bass Pro Shops Mississippi River Monsters Second Annual Tournament and Expo in a next weekend, Sept. 15-16, at the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid in Memphis.

The two-day event will include an Angler Expo with vendor booths and a live tournament weigh-in with over $100,000 in cash and prizes awarded to the nation's top catfishermen, supported and sponsored by both the Memphis and West Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Last year's inaugural event lured 184 teams from 22 states, making it the largest river catfishing tournament ever held. And the event is expected to be bigger and better this year. Vendor booths, food, live music and games for children will be included daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The industry's leading catfish pro-staffers will conduct seminars inside the Bass Pro Pyramid on September 15. The tournament's weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. on September 16.

West Memphis CVB Director Jim Jackson expects the event to be a major boon to local businesses.

“They were going to have the Captain’s meeting here at the Civic Center, but because some logistics of getting boats and trailers into the center, it not going to work out this year,” said Jackson. “We are going to take care of that problem by next year as part of our remodel project. The good news is 80 to 90 percent of the teams and organizers will be staying here in West Memphis and that means not only lodging, but eating, supplies, fuel — they really like that we have a couple of places they can buy 100-percent gasoline, no ethanol — and a big banquet at Southland.”

The success of the event is no surprise to Bill Dance, one of America's most famous fishermen. He said the popularity of catfishing continues to grow rapidly and is now only second to bass fishing in the U.S. “In fact, the rise of catfishing's popularity reminds me a lot of the early days of bass fishing, when tournaments and tournament trails exploded onto the scene,” said Dance, a pioneer of tournament bass fishing and an avid catfishermen.

Dance has personally endorsed, supported and donated to the 2017 tournament and expo. He will be in attendance both days to speak, sign autographs and mingle with the crowds. Dance has donated an allexpense paid fishing trip with him as an event prize.

There's definitely no other event like this on the Mighty Mississippi. In addition to the sponsor booths, food and entertainment, there will also be celebrity appearances, and the opportunity to see some monster-size catfish caught in the Mississippi River. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will also be on hand to ensure the successful release of all catfish caught and weighed in the event.

Likewise, rod and reel manufacturers will launch new product lines in conjunction with the tournament and a multitude of other latest and greatest catfish tackle will also be on hand. The event will be filmed by The MudbuM's and air later in 2018 on The Pursuit Channel. The Bass Pro Shops Pyramid routinely hosts 45,000 visitors per weekend day, and those statistics should increase much more when the Bass Pro Shops River Monsters Catfish Tournament and Expo arrive in Memphis.

About Mississippi River Monsters

Headquartered in Brookland, Arkansas, MRM is committed to being a tournament focused on fish conservation, ethical tournament practices and incorporating a family atmosphere. This commitment has positioned MRM for sound growth within the fishing industry, as they continue to aggressively work towards growing the catfish product and tournament industry.

For more information on Mississippi River Monsters Catfish Tournament and Expo angler participation or how to become a vendor please visit www.msrivermonsters. com.

By the Evening Times News Staff