MANITOULIN—It is with heavy hearts that The Manitoulin Expositor announces the cancellation of the 2022 Salmon Classic.
All those who have purchased tickets or graciously sponsored this world class fishing event will have their monies reissued in the coming days.
“With tickets sales down 87 percent this time year over year, and with the derby looming at just two weeks away, we had to think long and hard about how to proceed,” said Expositor publisher Alicia McCutcheon. “At the end of the day, we felt we had no choice but to make this hard decision now and cancel the derby or risk losing tens of thousands of dollars, which no small business can afford to do.”
“We took a risk this year when we went with the big money format of the derby,” said Salmon Classic organizer Dave Patterson. “We were asked repeatedly by the angling community to bring back the big prizes rather than a total payout of the tickets purchased. In the end, because of circumstances beyond or control, it just wasn’t feasible.”
Mr. Patterson said he understands that purchasing a ticket, on top of the gas, lodging and food required is just out of reach for many people wishing to attend the Classic this year. “People have to pick and choose their activities when gas is involved—fishing for days on end is a luxury, and we get that.”
Less than 100 tickets had been sold by Wednesday, far below the usual number of tickets sold by this time. Salmon Classic organizers say a minimum of 500 tickets is needed to be sold to come close to breaking even.
“The derby was never envisioned as a money-making event for the newspaper,” Ms. McCutcheon stressed. “Ticket costs have been the same since the beginning and it was always conceived as merely an event to cover its own costs and as another event for Manitoulin’s tourism industry. It was quite clear that this year it would not come close to that.”
“We are so thankful to everyone who has offered their support, in the form of buying tickets, giving sponsorships and selling tickets,” Ms. McCutcheon said. “We could never have done this without you. We are truly sorry that we had to make this call.”
Mr. Patterson pointed to the amazing salmon fishery this year, with more salmon being caught from Manitoulin’s territorial waters this summer than has been seen in many years. “We hope that families still get out on the water and make the best of the awesome fishing to be had.”
“This event was designed to be another signature tourism event for Manitoulin, and I think we’ve done just that over the 5 years the derby has been running,” Mr. Patterson continued. “I think we achieved that and again, we couldn’t have done it without so much community support—thank you and miigwetch.”
All those who have purchased tickets—either online, from The Expositor Office, Up Top Sports, Moxy’s Bait and Tackle or Ramakko’s—will see their funds returned in the coming days. Cheques will be issued to all those businesses and groups who generously sponsored the Classic shortly.
For more information, please contact Mr. Patterson at 705-368-2744 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.