National high school bass championship makes splash in West Tenn. economies

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HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. — High school fishermen from across the country are in West Tennessee, hoping to reel in a Bassmaster High School National Championship. Virginia high school junior Kadin Thens is one of hundreds of high school fishermen in West Tennessee this weekend competing for the second-ever bass fishing national championship. “I’ve been through it my whole high school career, and it’s been pretty good,” Thens said Tuesday. “This is what I’ve been working for a few years now, so I’m glad I got the opportunity.” The championship’s organizers said West Tennessee is the perfect place for the tournament. “It’s no secret Kentucky Lake is one of the best, if not the best, fisheries in the country,” manager of Bassmaster’s High School Series Hank Weldon said. “It’s a great reason for families to come to this lake and have a fun time fishing while competing for a championship.” Starting Wednesday, teams will start fishing at Kentucky Lake for a chance to become the high school bass fishing national champion. After competition Friday, the field of more than 100 boats will be cut down to 10, with just two spots left up for grabs at the Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake. County officials from both Henry and Carroll counties said this kind of event brings a huge economic splash. “We’re estimating that this week the economic impact in Carroll County will be approximately $250,000,” President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Brad Hurley said. “Last year, the total economic impact for both counties was approximately $400,000.” “Most of our hotels are booked,” CEO of the Henry County Tourism Authority David Hamilton said. “Kids started coming in last Friday and won’t leave until Saturday, maybe Sunday of this week. If you take those hotel rooms and multiply them by 140 teams, it books up all of our hotels.” Bassmaster officials say when it comes to fishing, there’s no place like West Tennessee. “Probably couldn’t have another place like this that would show so much enthusiasm like West Tennessee does,” Weldon said. Bassmaster also is holding the first-ever junior division fishing championships in Carroll County. Both tournaments run through Saturday. The final weigh-ins will be held at Bethel University.

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