Bassmaster Tournament brings business

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April 20, 2007

EVANS, Ga.---It's day two of the Bassmaster Pride of Georgia Tournament at Lake Thurmond, and big business is the catch of the week.

For a small area like Pollard's Corner, having a big tournament like Bassmaster right up the road means a chance to reel in the profits.

Alvin Tanner's counter stays busy with customers all day long.

"It's our best span of business," he told News 12.

And it's easy to see why: Pollards Corner Convenience Store is just one mile from the tournament. So whether they need to fuel up or bait up, his store is the place to be.

Every hour during the four-day event, he'll do three times the business of a normal work week, selling an estimated 8000 crickets and 6000 minnows...not to mention the gas.

"I've got a smattering of where they are coming from...and believe me, they come from all over. Texas, Arkansas, even got a couple of New Yorkers that come by," Alvin said.

If you're hungry, you don't have to look far. Maryland's Fried Chicken is just across the street, selling at least 500 pieces of chicken a day. That's the same amount they normally dish out in one week.

"Oh yeah, we look forward to it every year," said Rebecca Tate of Maryland's. "Here in a few days, we do as much business we do in a month. It's just booming."

Both businesses say they depend on the fishermen and the families, like Robert Lockamy's clan. They're camping out with neighbors to soak in the fun, and his seven year old daughter is already looking to cash in on the bass action.

"She said, 'Let me get this can fish for money?' I said yeah, and she said, 'Okay, when we go up there? This weekend? Don't let me forget to bring my pole,'" Robert laughed.

It's good money for the pros. $100,000 is the top prize for the winner.

And the tournament is good for the rest of us too. Last year there was $500,000 in sales in Columbia, Richmond, McDuffie and Lincoln counties.

Individuals are also doing some business here. This year alone 70 private homes are being rented by the anglers and their families.

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