Doug's Diggings: Get ready, the PWT is coming to town!In the midst of a financial crisis and election campaign turmoil it may be difficult to focus on the fact that an exciting event is coming to Hudson next week — Spirit of the St. Croix Days and the PWT fishing tournament. Of course, the event is going to attract people who enjoy fishing, but even non-fisher types will find plenty of activities to attend during the Oct. 15-18 event.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
In the midst of a financial crisis and election campaign turmoil it may be difficult to focus on the fact that an exciting event is coming to Hudson next week — Spirit of the St. Croix Days and the PWT fishing tournament.
Of course, the event is going to attract people who enjoy fishing, but even non-fisher types will find plenty of activities to attend during the Oct. 15-18 event.
The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail fishing tournament has often been referred to as the Super Bowl of fishing tournaments. It’s going to attract the outdoor television-type media, including ESPN. In-Fisherman, by the way, is a prestigious fishing magazine published eight times per year.
If you don’t think this is a big deal, consider this: The total guaranteed PWT payout for the event is $168,000. The top winner will take home a minimum of $44,000 in PWT prize money. I say minimum because the fishermen can also earn cash from various manufacturers. For instance, the highest placing fisherman who is using a Mercury Motor can earn $12,000 from the company; second highest Mercury user, $5,000, etc. The high-place fisherman using a Lund Boat can earn another $12,000. There are plenty of companies lined up to award the winning anglers: Mercury, Lund, Tundra, MotorGuide, Triton Boats, Starcraft, Crestliner and many more.
The PWT people claim the winner is guaranteed at least $50,000 — and it could be more depending on the type of equipment used by fishermen, the company payout, etc.
Under the fishing rules, the big event is Saturday, Oct. 18. That’s when the top 50 anglers will hit the St. Croix River. Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15, however, a number of anglers will hit the river in an effort to be included in the top 50. I don’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of professional fishing, but as I understand, some anglers have already qualified for the top 50 at other PWT events during the past year -– they will be here looking for good fishing locations. Others will be working hard on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to qualify in the top 50.
The top prize winner earns the big bucks on Saturday, but prize money is paid to the top 30 fishermen that day. The worst an angler can do is $2,300 for 25th through 30th place. The PWT people claim the St. Croix River is a perfect spot for the walleye event. The fishermen will actually have some leeway for fishing. The boundaries go down as far south as the Mississippi and north up past Stillwater.
For fishermen, the exciting part of each day will be the weigh-in session from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. The weigh-ins will take place near the bathhouse, just north of the band shell in Lakefront Park. Temporary docks will be installed for the tournament at that location. Bleachers will also be set up for spectators.
The other big tournament event is the Saturday night banquet. The PWT Awards Banquet will be 6:30 to 11 p.m. in Lakefront Park. A fancy tent that holds about 250 people will be erected in Lakefront Park. Along with other activities, it will be the site of the awards banquet. The general public is able to attend the banquet. The cost is $25 and includes a barbecue banquet. Entry passes may be purchased at the Chamber office, 502 Second St., or call (800) 657-6775 or (715) 386-8411.
Of course, if you’ve been reading the Star-Observer the past few weeks, you already know about a long list of activities associated with the fishing tournament.
Friday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. “The Taste of Hudson, A Food, Wine & Beer Experience” will be staged in the huge tent. With a $65 entry pass, participants can sample food from nine Hudson restaurants along with Wisconsin craft beers and wines. Later that evening a cash bar will open and jazz music will be available.
Passes are available at the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Office and the participating businesses.
Among the major attractions is a performance by the nationally renowned Big Top Chautauqua. The group is performing a free show at the Lakefront Park band shell at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16. Vendors will be near the band shell so visitors may come for dinner and enjoy the show and concert.
Other highlights include youth fishing activities, boat show, vendor show, food and beverage vendors, Taste of Hudson — A Food, Wine and Beer Experience, All American Lumberjack Shows, musical entertainment, Bassmeister Shows, kids activities and more. Check this week’s Star-Observer for schedules and details.
Among the busiest folks in town are the staff members at the Chamber of Commerce. They have literally been working on this event for nearly a year.
Director of Communications and Programs Pat Sherley has had the lead in putting the event together, but Chamber President Kim Heinemann has also been burning the midnight oil. Other Chamber staff members are Char Hipsher, Vanessa LaFeur and Jane Leaf.
Events like this can be logistical nightmares — especially for onetime or first-year events. The staff members at the Chamber office deserve praise for all their hard work.