This week's Bassmaster Classic is a big catch for Tulsa. It's one of the largest sporting events ever held in the city. It's expected to bring 100,000 people to the event and fill 15,000 hotel rooms. City leaders say they expect it to cast $26 million into our local economy.
The Hard Rock Casino Resort, the host hotel, is booked for Friday and Saturday evening as well as most downtown Tulsa hotels. Restaurants are expecting big crowds. The success of this event could determine what future events Tulsa can reel in.
At Topeca Coffee, fish may not be on the menu, but it's on the minds of staff this week as the Bassmaster Classic comes to town.
"We expect to get, if not actual competitors, a lot of staff who are working the event and attending the expo," said Patrick Bodin, Manager of Topeca Coffee.
He doesn't know all the details about the "Super Bowl of Fishing," but he knows it's good for business. This is the first Classic ever held in Oklahoma. Jeff Stava, local organizer for the Bassmaster Classic said Tulsa started vying for the event back in 2010.
"Tulsa has just now positioned itself with the new, remodeled civic center and the new BOK center," said Stava. "We're now starting to have the facilities to be able to attract these kinds of events."
The pressure is on to make sure the 53 anglers and thousands of visitors enjoy it.
"This is our first step into a major scene, with a major sports announcement and event coming to Tulsa," said Stava. "There are a lot of other sports looking at how well we perform at this event."
Fishing fan or not, Stava hopes all Tulsans will put their best foot forward.
"Whether you are interested in the sport itself or just interested in making sure people feel welcome, say hi to folks when you see them at a restaurant," said Stava. "Thank them for coming. Those are the kinds of things that make us a welcoming community."
To catch the action, visitors can go to the BOK Center Friday through Sunday at 3 p.m. for the daily weigh in. The competition at Grand Lake begins Friday at 7 a.m. Visitors can watch from the shore or even take a boat onto the lake.
The Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo will take place at the Tulsa Convention Center Friday through Sunday. It is free to the public.
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