• Early release this Friday at 10:45 a.m.

  • Homecoming this Friday at 7 p.m. vs. Vidor

The Bear Facts

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Orange County River Festival Has Record Turnout

Chris+Lane+won+the+2015+Bassmaster+Elite+Series+on+March+22.+
Chris Lane won the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series on March 22.

Chris Lane won the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series on March 22.

David Ball, The Record Live

David Ball, The Record Live

Chris Lane won the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series on March 22.

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The Orange County River Festival was held last Thursday, March 19 through Sunday, March 22, bringing in a record amount of 33,378 fans. The event had much to offer for family fun and aspiring professional anglers.

“The hotels in town were full, the restaurants were busy, and businesses had the chance to showcase their goods,” Lutcher Theater employee and Festival volunteer Wendy Elliott said.

The Bass Master Elite Fishermen were there for the Sabine River Challenge and this proved to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for everyone in the community who got to meet the professional anglers.

“For some kids and teens, they aspire to be like these guys and for them to meet the fishermen was a cool thing,” Elliott said.

Each day started with the daily angler boat launch at the Orange boat ramp. Each afternoon, a B.A.S.S. weigh-in was held to see who was in the lead of the challenge. On Thursday night, First Financial Bank sponsored a concert by country singer Dustin Lynch, who has produced hit singles such as “Cowboys and Angels” and “Where It’s At.”

This was a good way to get the community involved in our cultural venues.”

— Wendy Elliott

“It was a great concert and lots of fun,” Elliott said.

During the festival, there was also a kids catch and release and several community members enjoyed the annual Art in the Park. There were several boat demo rides, as well as a laser light show and family concert at the Lutcher Theater. Several participants also joined in the “Run Your Bass Off” 5K Race.

“The kids catch and release was a fun time and the kids really loved it,” LCM sophomore Jada McMackin said.

The main sponsors for Bass Masters were the Stark Cultural Venues, Gopher Industrial, and Bass Master Elite Series. The Stark Foundation held a booth at the festival where people could visit and learn more about everything Orange has to offer. The Foundation’s venues (Shangri La, the Stark House, and the Stark Museum of Arts) had record amounts in attendance throughout the weekend.

“This was a good way to get the community involved in our cultural venues,” Elliott said.

On Sunday at the final weigh-in of the tournament, Pro-Angler Chris Lane came out on top with a catch of 50 pounds and was awarded $1,000. Following in a close second was Mike McClelland with a catch of 45 pounds.

“It was quite obvious that the Sabine River got a visit from true pros,” Elliott said.

 

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