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2011 Governor's Fishing Opener could be here

The thought of Park Rapids lakes area hosting the 2011 Governor's Fishing Opener is both exciting and exhausting.

Earlier this week an initial meeting was held to discuss whether our lakes area should submit a proposal for a chance to host hundreds of anglers at the annual event.

The biggest draw for hosting the event is the media attention. It is estimated the community hosting the Governor's Fishing Opener gains more than $600,000 in media exposure. That's a hefty number.

On the other side, though, the estimated cost to host the fishing opener is $150,000 to $300,000, with an estimated $60,000 to $80,000 to be in cash and the remainder in-kind contributions.

That means that a lot of work will need to be done in order to host the big event.

Carol Altepeter, coordinator of the event for Explore Minnesota Tourism, spoke to a group Monday in Park Rapids about how to go about submitting a proposal and what needs to be considered.

"In order to have a successful application, our community must be in strong support of the effort," said Katie Magozzi, Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber director.

An organizing committee must be formed. Lodging properties that will be available/open if the application is successful must be determined, as well as host properties and event locations and an opener lake.

A Park Rapids Enterprise online poll asked, "Do you think Park Rapids should host the 2011 Governor's Fishing Opener?"

It showed 94 people, or about 75 percent, were in favor of the Park Rapids lakes area hosting the event. This seems to be the general feeling around town, too. People are excited about the possibility of hosting the event.

These same people will need to step up and volunteer if Park Rapids is chosen to be the host community in 2011.

An organizational meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 in the Chamber meeting room. Interested people should make sure to attend. The deadline to submit a proposal is Oct. 1.

Park Rapids last hosted the event in 1979. If there is enough interest in hosting the Governor's Fishing Opener, we should go for it.

This community has no shortage of volunteers and we're sure if the interest is there, this can happen.