As Executive Director of The America Cup International Fly Fishing Tournament and small business owner on the fringes of Chaffee County, I think that something needs to be said. My staff and I contacted County Commissioner Jerry Mallett to help organize a World Class fly fishing event in Chaffee County (see the Mountain Mail dated 11-13-07 “Irish look at county for fly fishing tournament”). In the article Mallett said, “This is what we are looking for. We are a world class destination for hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting (and now) fishing. It’s the chance of a lifetime to put more focus on the river.” However, Mr. Mallett and Paul Goetz chose to add that the county would have to foot the bill for the teams. We never asked for any money from the county and the event was privately funded prior to talks with the county.
After months of planning and preparation for the event with Mr. Mallett we were called into Mr. Mallett’s office and told that we lacked validity and that the county didn’t need tourism and there was nothing else he could do for us. As I have been in the fly fishing industry for 20+ years this came as a shock to me and my staff.
So having international teams committed to come to the event we had to scramble to find another venue. The event was held on September 8th-12th in Frisco Colorado with seven international teams, the U.S. National Youth Fly Fishing Team, two U.S. National Fly Fishing Teams, Colorado Women’s Team and a Colorado Youth Team ages 10-15. It was our goal and remains our goal to promote the state of Colorado, international tourism, youth and women in our sport. We received television news coverage from 9news, Channel 7 and Fox Sports Network in Denver. Print news coverage from the Denver Post, Summit Daily and Vail Daily. Articles were also printed by other various international organizations as well as on the internet.
In closing this event would have had a great impact for Chaffee County tourism and the surrounding area for many years to come.
Executive Director, The America Cup