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Pro Wakeboard Tour not returning in 2011

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Monroe, Wash. replaces E’town stop

By Marty Finley

mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com

The Mastercraft Pro Wakeboard Tour made waves in Elizabethtown in 2009 and 2010, but the tour will not return to the city on its 2011 tour.

A preliminary tour schedule shows Elizabethtown has been dropped in favor of Lake Tye in Monroe, Wash., and Elizabethtown tourism officials confirmed Friday that the tour would not return in 2011.

The tour featured pro wakeboarders performing active stunts and tricks at Freeman Lake, a venue tour organizers have said is one of the best they’ve performed on.

The remaining schedule of the tour is unchanged from last year, with stops scheduled in Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

“The city of Monroe is a great location, with an ideal venue to host the Pro Tour, and we’re very excited to bring our event there this season,” tour judge Chris Bischoff said in a news release issued by the city of Monroe. “We’ve wanted to bring the Pro Tour back to the Pacific Northwest for a very long time, and our partnership with the city of Monroe will allow us to make our return.”

Janna Clark, sports and sales director for the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau, described the tour as a “class organization” and expressed optimism that the city would work with the tour again in the future.

“We felt like we were very fortunate to keep them last year,” Clark said.

After a successful first outing, ETCB approached the tour for a second visit last year, but it appeared plans would fall through when Elizabethtown City Council denied a request by organizers to serve beer at the tour stop’s closing ceremony at Freeman Lake Park.

Alcohol is prohibited at the park and council members expressed concerns with changing the policy, saying it may welcome a deluge of similar requests.

Clarkresumed negotiations after the request failed and successfully secured the tour by allowing beer vendors to advertise their products at the park for its broadcasts on FUEL-TV. The city also negotiated a rental agreement to lower the tour’s costs.

It is unclear if removing the restrictions last year would have lured the Pro Tour back another year, she said, and other interests are involved when the tour drafts its schedule, such as increasing attendance and lessening restrictions.

“We completely understand that,” she said. “They continue to brag about our lake and our venue.”

If the venue was the only factor, she added, the tour probably would return every year.

“We work well together,” she said.

Clarksaid the park remains a viable spot for sports and the tourism bureau will continue to market its value as a sporting venue. Hopefully, she said, the tour will find its way back in a few years.

“You never know what the future holds,” she said. 

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762