2008-08-28 / Front Page

Lincoln County well represented at trade expo and fishing tourney

The Clark's Hill Partnership of Georgia was well represented at the trade expo held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup, the largest bass-fishing championship in the nation. Pictured at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center are: (l-r) Sherry McKellar, executive director of the Lincoln County Development Authority; Kurt Jones, Lincoln County volunteer; angler J. Todd Tucker; Beda Johnson, executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Ashley Barnett, executive director of the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce and tourism director for Wilkes County. The Clark's Hill Partnership of Georgia was well represented at the trade expo held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup, the largest bass-fishing championship in the nation. Pictured at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center are: (l-r) Sherry McKellar, executive director of the Lincoln County Development Authority; Kurt Jones, Lincoln County volunteer; angler J. Todd Tucker; Beda Johnson, executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Ashley Barnett, executive director of the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce and tourism director for Wilkes County. The counties of the Clark's Hill Partnership of Georgia represented the Classic South region at the trade show held August 14-17 in conjunction with FLW Outdoors' Forrest Wood Cup.

Named after Forrest Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, the tournament is the largest bass-fishing championship in the nation, with a top prize of $1 million.

This year, the tournament took place at Lake Murray, near Columbia, South Carolina.

The trade expo was housed in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. In addition to hundreds of exhibits, the outdoor recreation show also featured fishing seminars given by Hank Parker, Jimmy Houston, and other bass-fishing legends; a concert by country singer Tracy Byrd; and a $53,000 boat give-away.

Concerning the Clark's Hill Partnership of Georgia, 1,200 people visited the organization's booth to register for a drawing for a Clark's Hill fishing expedition with angler J. Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Georgia. Tucker remained at the booth throughout the event to greet visitors, sign autographs, and talk with fans about the fishing on Clark's Hill Lake.

Visitors to the booth also received an assortment of gifts such as Slinkys, T-shirts, hats, luggage tags, key rings, fishing lures, shoe shine kits, wrist bands, and lapel pens, supplied by the state and members of the Clark's Hill Lake Partnership.

The partnership is comprised of Lincoln, Columbia, McDuffie, Warren, and Wilkes counties.

According to Sherry McKellar, executive assistant for the Lincoln County Development Authority, "During the show, we were able to put Clark's Hill Lake and the hotels, attractions, restaurants, and services in each of our counties in front of an estimated 45,000 outdoor enthusiasts.

"Everything went very well. We were swamped with visitors to our booth, easily dealing with 100-plus people an hour. It was very busy, but we had a wonderful time. We had about 25 boxes of Georgia Travel Guides and gave away all 600 of them."

In addition to Clark's Hill Lake, McKellar also educated visitors to the partnership's booth about Lincoln County in general, Elijah Clark State Park, Soap Creek Marina, Lincolnton Marine, and other local businesses. "There was a lot of interest shown particularly in the lake and our state park," she said.

Others helping staff the booth were Beda Johnson, executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Elizabeth Vance, executive director of the Thomson- McDuffie County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Ashley Barnett, director of the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce and tourism director for Wilkes County; Kurt Jones, Lincoln County volunteer; and Pam Kruseck, consumer sales manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development: Tourism Division.

The winner of the drawing for the fishing expedition with J. Todd Tucker was Jeff Fleck of Forest, Virginia.

Established in 2005, the goal of the regional partnership is to promote economic development by encouraging industrial development and the creation of jobs, marketing attendant tourism and developing new tourist attractions, supporting recreational opportunities, expanding and upgrading infrastructure, and enhancing transportation services in each of its member counties.

The counties believe the partnership will create a favorable environment for industrial development, trade, commerce, and residential development in the Clark's Hill Lake region.

The Forrest Wood Cup was hosted by the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board and showcased 77 professionals and 77 co-anglers, representing 31 states and Japan.

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