The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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October 8, 2013

Long-running Table Rock fishing tournament victim of government shutdown

SHELL KNOB, Mo. — The longest continuously running bass tournament on Table Rock Lake has become a victim of the federal government shutdown.

Organizers are hoping the 34th annual Homer Sloan Buddy Bass Tournament can be rescheduled for later in the fall, but the event — a fundraiser for the Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce — had to be canceled last weekend.

Initially, anglers couldn’t get access to boat ramps, campgrounds and other sites operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to Karen Elsey, executive director of the Shell Knob chamber.

“We had people coming in from all over, and some of them showed up because we couldn’t reach them in time,” she said.

Elsey said businesses in the town jumped in to help, with local resorts offering to launch the fishing boats and house the anglers. The community even lined up another site to hold the steak dinner that is served as part of the tournament.

“We were like ‘The Little Engine That Could’; everybody jumped in to help,” she said. “Then we found out Thursday from the corps that they were revoking our regatta permit, which essentially gives us the right to assemble on the lake.”

About 120 fishermen were expected for the tournament, according to John Coonrod, chairman of the tournament. It was started by his father-in-law.

“We normally have over 100 fishermen and about 50 boats,” he said. “We get people here from Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, plus all the local fishermen who enter. And we always serve them a steak dinner at the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp on the lake.”

Coonrod said entry fees have been refunded.

Chamber officials still hope the tournament can be held this year.

“Of course, we’re going to have to see how long the weather will stay good and wait and see if the government can get its act together,” Coonrod said.

Coonrod said it’s difficult to measure the economic impact of the long-running tournament. He noted that it affects businesses that provide lodging, serve meals and cater to those who come to the lake.

Fundraiser

JOHN COONROD, chairman of the Homer Sloan Buddy Bass Tournament, said his father-in-law started the tournament to raise money for a community building in Shell Knob. For the past 24 years, the money has been given to the Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce.

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