Mitchell’s Bay Open History

A little bit of history on the Mitchell’s Bay Open (MBAA). The Mitchell’s Bay Area Association is a non-profit charity which was created in September, 2011. Members of the association are dedicated to preserving the natural environment of the Mitchell’s Bay area and promoting active public participation for the enjoyment in various water, hunting, and fishing activities throughout the year.

One of the first events to be discussed at the MBAA was to host a bass tournament back in mid to late 2012. None of us had tournament experience so we started with a “Think Tank” session by way of invite. We started by collecting a list of anglers and charter companies. Dale Hainer (Field Editor, Ontario Out of Doors Magazine at that time) helped us with suggestions for potential interest. Dale also posted a blog on our intentions to host a tournament and before we knew it we received this from Dale, “It’s posted here (he provided link) and within 10 minutes it’s all over Facebook and Twitter. WOW, I never would have believed the power of the internet.” How things have changed!

Working up to the very first meeting, Derek Strub was instrumental in assisting and advising us on what existing tournament event dates to avoid (particularly the Canadian Open and the Berkley B1), tournament formats, length of the tournament and the fact that Lake St Clair was in need of a tournament. Derek was also keen on the fact that certain events are 100% community based events that were started to help market the areas and showcase the fishing opportunities from a tourism point of view. We have never lost sight of the later and to this day we still promote our tournament as a community based event.

The very first meeting was scheduled for January 19th 2013 at the Dover Kinsmen Club Hall in Grande Pointe and was well attended. The agenda of the workshop was to define the scope of the tournament, create sub committees and identify the logistics of hosting. From this a draft of a Gantt chart and an organizational structure in support of responsibilities were developed.

Meetings and research continued throughout the year of 2013. Grant ops, insurance, liabilities, tourism ops, partners, sponsors, rules, logistics, sportsman shows, promotion via media, posters, save the date cards and visits to existing tournaments became the focus of operations and organization for over a year after the initial meeting in Jan. The plan from the very beginning was to develop this as an annual event and the very first tournament would be critical to that success.

Then reality started setting in. As of Dec 2013 we had a whopping 5 boats registered, come April we had 18. We started to doubt ourselves, over a years’ worth of work with all the planning and organizing and the results were becoming concerning. Our realization was, damned if we do now and damned if we don’t. We crossed our fingers and moved forward. We ended up with 30 boats and 60 anglers registered for the 1st Annual.

Our next obstacle was a lack of scales. Fortunately, Dean and Cindy Franklin (TBBA series) loaned us the scales and they also provided Tanya, their weigh master, to manage the weigh-ins during the tournament. In the second year 23 boats and 46 anglers registered for the event and once again Dean and Cindy came to our aid.

Following the pre-tournament advice of Derek Strub, our Children’s Event became the fabric of our community commitment and one of our trade marks right from the very first tournament in 2014. More on the sponsors who support this event later.

In 2016 we became the Canadian Tire Mitchell’s Bay Open thanks to the generous support of Peter Marshall and his Canadian Tire stores. More on Canadian Tire in the next segment of Message from the Canadian Tire Mitchell’s Bay Open Team.

When we look back at the support and input we’ve had over the last 10 years, right from the very beginning, we realize how very fortunate we are. The fact that most of our sponsors, anglers, committee members and volunteers are still with us today is a testament to the dedication of the community’s belief in the quality and value this event brings to the Mitchell’s Bay area.

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