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Tulsa, Grove Businesses Say Bassmaster Classic A Boon For Sales

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More than 70,000 people came to the Sooner State for the Bassmaster Classic. More than 70,000 people came to the Sooner State for the Bassmaster Classic.
Downtown Tulsa businesses saw record crowds from the weekend. Downtown Tulsa businesses saw record crowds from the weekend.
The 2013 Bassmaster Classic is estimated to pump $26 million into the local and regional economy. The 2013 Bassmaster Classic is estimated to pump $26 million into the local and regional economy.
Sam Williams owns the Grand Lake Sports Center. He said February is normally one of his slowest months. Not this year. Sam Williams owns the Grand Lake Sports Center. He said February is normally one of his slowest months. Not this year.

The 2013 Bassmaster Classic is estimated to pump $26 million into the local and regional economy.

Downtown Tulsa businesses saw record crowds from the weekend.

More than 70,000 people came to the Sooner State for the Bassmaster Classic.

Many of the fans and pros chose to stay right here in Downtown Tulsa

Bassmaster fans hit up the Daily Grill over the past few days.

Kevin Funkhouser, Daily Grill Manager: "The entire dining room was packed for 2-3 hours. We had people waiting for tables," Daily Grill Manager Kevin Funkhouser said.

The restaurant was prepared by doubling the weekend work staff and extending hours.

"We've stayed open late. We've opened early. We've put a buffet out for these guys in the morning for our breakfast to be able to accommodate the massive number of people that we've seen coming in," Funkhouser said.

And the Daily Grill isn't alone.

Restaurants all over the area were pounded with an unusual amount of visitors.

Caz's Chowhouse says it made 10-percent more this weekend than it would have otherwise.

"We had the extra revenue coming in from all of those people that came in for the event, and it seemed that they were all happy to be here," Chowhouse owner Jeff Castleberry said. "They all had positive things to say about the city, about the downtown area."

Many hotels, like Fairfield Inn, were sold out since Wednesday.

The DoubleTree staff said the fishing event bumped the hotel's revenue up 20 percent over this time last year.

Ben Kroeger is from Nebraska and has spent the last five nights in a hotel.

"It's the Bassmaster Classic" Kroeger said. "It's not going to be any closer than this anytime soon. It's always down South. It was only a seven-hour trip. We said ‘We got to go.' I mean, it's the Bassmaster Classic."

He admits this has been an expensive trip, but said it's all worth it.

"Been eating out at restaurants and buying a lot of beer and everything else. It's been very cool," Kroeger said. "It's been a great experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone."

It wasn't just fans and business who were thrilled to have the Bassmaster here.

On stage, the emcee said he had no doubt the Classic would return to Oklahoma.

Special Coverage: 2013 Bassmaster Classic

The economic impact wasn't felt just in Tulsa County. It's also helped businesses in Grove, where the anglers launched their boats for the tournament.

A number of Grove business owners said they brought in extra help and loaded up on inventory in preparation for the Bassmaster weekend.

And while some businesses fared better than others, one in particular almost had more business than it could handle.

Sam Williams owns the Grand Lake Sports Center. He said February is normally one of his slowest months.

But, he said, this year has been phenomenal, all because the Classic came to town.

The $5 million Wolf Creek boat and launch facility, funded by a partnership of local, state and federal dollars, covers about 20 acres and has six boat ramps. It was built specifically to handle the world-class fishing event.

Northeastern Oklahoma will continue to reap its benefits for years to come.

"To have one of the top-notch ramps in U.S. here is incredible for us, and it's only gonna get better when the second phase is done."

Williams said 14 of the 53 Classic anglers came into his store this weekend.

He's also calling this a new era for Grove, because the Bassmaster Classic is just one of multiple tournaments scheduled on Grand Lake in 2013.

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