Fishing tourney reels in dollars

The city of Columbiana hosted the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association and its 2013 State Championship last weekend, and in the process, the city reeled in an event that brought in tourism dollars and built goodwill among visitors.

On May 9, the Shelby County Exhibition Center was the site of a barbecue dinner catered by Chelsea-based Johnny Ray’s restaurant, and on May 10, the Old Shelby County Courthouse was the site of the first official weigh-in of the state championship. Cheering fans sat in bleachers, set up for the event, and food and crafts vendors lined the street.

On May 11, the teen anglers fished all morning and part of the afternoon before returning to the Columbiana Sports Complex for the final weigh-in, where they were greeted with a surprise visit from Gov. Robert Bentley, a Columbiana native.

That’s three days of money coming into Columbiana and its surrounding areas and three days of visitors experiencing Columbiana’s charm and seeing the wonderful facilities in the area.

We have no doubt that once we see the numbers measuring the economic impact of the event, it will prove to have been a worthwhile investment for Columbiana and Lay Lake to host the tournament.

The city certainly made an impact on its visitors. Amanda Brown of Rainsville commented on how “nice and friendly” Columbiana was, and we have to think the unexpected visit from Gov. Bentley surely meant a lot to the young anglers and their families.

According to Phoebe Donald Robinson’s story, Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley hopes the ASABFA will return to Lay Lake and Columbiana next year for its 2014 State Championship.

We join Handley in hoping the anglers return and make this an annual event in Columbiana. This year’s event was great for the city of Columbiana and was great for the ASABFA — with the groundwork already done, this could be the beginning of a beautiful and beneficial relationship.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.