Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s National Team Championship

Skilled anglers from around the country will cast their lines in Lorain with hopes of reeling in $250,000 in cash and prizes when the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s National Team Championship for walleye fishing takes place May 9 through 11.

“Since we held our first championship 23 years ago, we’ve had the opportunity to fish in great walleye waters across the country, including Lorain, in 2017,” says Jeff Kelm, national tournament director for the Walleye Federation, an Oklahoma-based grassroots group dedicated to promoting the support of walleye tournament fishing.

“This year,” he adds, “we’re blessed to once again be working with the great community of Lorain to be able to host an event as big and prestigious as this one.”

The tournament consists of 300 two-person teams who’ve qualified for the contest through one of 116 Walleye Federation clubs located throughout the United States. With their marine band radios tuned in to the official tournament channel, teams set out at sunrise each morning from Black River Landing and commence fishing for walleye in Ohio-only rivers, creeks and canals connected to Lake Erie.

Beginning at 3 p.m. each day, they return to the landing and each team’s bounty is weighed. The results are livestreamed on the Walleye Federation’s Facebook page.

Although teams can catch as many fish as they like, only five — which must be 15 inches or longer — from each craft can be weighed.

“Lorain has what the anglers are looking for at this time of year, which is the migration of the largest fish in the system,” explains Kelm. “As a result, they’re able to spend less time floating in the water and more time concentrating their efforts on catching some of the biggest fish they’ll ever put their hands on.”

The top 25 teams from the first two days of fishing are the sole competitors on the third and final day of the tournament.

Kelm estimates that “somewhere between 800 and 1,500 fish totaling thousands of pounds” will be caught during the tournament. They’ll be donated to Sandusky’s Victory Kitchen, one of the few area foodbanks equipped to intricately clean and process the bounty in a timely fashion that cuts down on waste.

Tiffany McClelland, assistant director of the Lorain Port and Finance Authority, recommends heading to Black River Landing, the bascule bridge or Riverside Park in time to see the 300 boats head out at 7 a.m.

“It’s one of the most magnificent, magical, moving moments you’ll ever see in this harbor,” says McClelland, whose organization is dedicated to promoting waterborne commerce, providing economic development opportunities in the city of Lorain and enhancing public access to waterways.

She adds that the estimated $1.65 million dollars in economic impact the championship is estimated to bring to the county is a huge plus. Lorain’s historic 55-room Ariel Broadway Hotel, with amenities that include a fine dining restaurant, upscale sports bar with pool tables and a bakery, will serve as the host hotel. Additionally, the county’s many eateries and businesses are also ready to welcome tournament anglers and tourists.

“We’ve partnered with the county commissioners, Lorain County Visitors Bureau and other organizations to help bring this event to Lorain,” McClelland says. “Ultimately,” she adds, “the investment that has gone into Lake Erie — specifically into the Black River — to rehabilitate wildlife and the fish culture has made a huge difference. The fact that the tournament is returning here is a testament to how beautiful the setting is, the top-tier amenities we have — and how wonderful the fishing is.”

Lorain County’s Bicentennial Celebration

Picturesque parks and stunning lakefront vistas. Quaint neighborhoods and shops. World-class educational institutions, businesses and industries.

Two centuries of storied history will be commemorated on Friday, May 24, when Lorain County’s Bicentennial Celebration takes place on Ely Square in downtown Elyria.

The fete commences at 9:30 a.m. with welcoming remarks from Lorain County Commissioners President Jeff Riddell, followed by a flag presentation by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Honor Guard; a performance of our National Anthem, sung by Elyria Ward 1 city councilman Andrew Lipian; and tours of the Lorain County Justice Center.

Other highlights of the day include a reenactment of the first commissioners meeting, which was held on Monday, May 24, 1824. Current commissioners Riddell, David J. Moore, Michelle Hung and Treasurer Dan Talarek will discuss pivotal points in county government history and introduce past commissioners. They will also unveil a traveling exhibit created by the Lorain County Historical Society and dedicate a time capsule filled with photographs, hand-written letters, historical documents, drawings — and a Smartphone — that will be placed in the Justice Center for future generations to unveil.

“I was lucky enough to also serve as a county commissioner in 2003, when we celebrated our state’s bicentennial,” says commissioner Moore. “I remember what a monumental year it was throughout Ohio. When [the committee] began planning our county’s bicentennial, we knew we wanted to honor our place in history.”

Later in the day, food trucks will add to the ambiance, as will the Elyria High School Marching Band, performing on the courthouse steps as part of the City of Elyria Annual Appreciation Day concert. All attendees are invited to have a slice of birthday cake baked by a Lorain County bakery. 

Garry Gibbs, vice chairman of the Lorain County Bicentennial Committee, created a postage stamp to celebrate the communiy. The Elyria Post Office will stamp cancelled mail with it for 30 days starting May 24.

Mid-American Conference Baseball Championship

America’s favorite pastime will again be played at a collegiate level in Avon when athletes take the field at Crushers Stadium May 21 through 25 (“if” game potential on Sunday, May 26) for the Mid-American Conference Baseball Championship. The 5,000-seat ballpark, home to the Lake Erie Crushers, a member of the Frontier League professional baseball league, has hosted the tournament for eight seasons.

“We’re excited to be coming back to Avon and this phenomenal stadium,” says MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. “Returning to Lorain County provides us with the opportunity to present MAC championship baseball on a stage that facilitates a great playing experience for student athletes and a great fan experience for those who come to watch.”

“We love hosting this event,” says Lake Erie Crushers President Tom Kramig. “Since so many alumni live nearby, this is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the MAC footprint. We estimate that the series will draw close to 3,000 fans.”

He takes pride in the fact that Crushers Stadium will also host the games in 2025 and 2026.

“We’re an ideal venue for the championship,” Kramig says. “Since our field is made of turf, it drains well, which cuts down on rain delays. And, since we stream all our games, we offer great sightlines and locations for cameras to be placed during telecasts.”