Big Fish and Tall Tales


Fishing (42)

Photo Credit: Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores and Islands
By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

While searching for some information about fishing — ice fishing in particular — I stumbled across several intriguing articles about a particular lake monster rumored to inhabit the water in Ohio around Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

Now I’d heard of the Loch Ness Monster and even Champ of Lake Champlain, but never of this creature known as South Bay Bessie. Apparently, this sea serpent measures anywhere from 30 to 60 feet in length and was first spotted in the early 1800s by sailors.

One report says that two brothers encountered a huge monster on the beach near Toledo in 1817. They described the unknown species as a 20 to 30-foot sturgeon with arms. The panicked brothers left the scene, but later returned and found silver scales the size of silver dollars where the creature had been.

The unidentified aquatic creature has been spotted near Sandusky and Cedar Point and is so much a part of the local lore that Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland sells a beer called Lake Erie Monster Double IPA that the company says pairs well with steak, aged cheese and tall tales. A local man also crafted a life-size floating replica of Bessie. This replica, Lemmy, can be seen anchored off Huron River.


Photo Credit: Great Lakes Brewing Company

So, there must be some truth to it, right?

As we all know, some fish stories have a way of becoming larger than life.

I don’t know if this legend is a snake monster, a prehistoric ichthyosaur or a massive sturgeon, but wouldn’t it be a great story to tell around the campfire if you were the one who landed that massive trophy?

I’m not getting my hopes up, but I’m assured the waters surrounding Lake Erie’s Shores and Islands are year-round hotspots for walleye, perch, smallmouth bass and catfish.

Try some of these fishing areas on Lake Erie Shores and Islands:

  • South Bass Island/Put-in-Bay – During winter when the harbor freezes, the landscape is dotted with colorful ice shanties. Walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass fill the waters here.
  • Middle Bass Island – This island of flowers includes beaches, marinas, a historic district and a wildlife refuge. Perch, smallmouth bass and walleye are caught here.
  • Kelleys Island – The largest of Lake Erie’s islands is a bird lovers’ paradise. Rocky shorelines and pristine beaches along with miles of hiking trails and a friendly downtown district makes this a good choice for nature lovers. Kelleys Island is a hotspot for catching smallmouth bass, yellow perch and walleye.
  • Port Clinton – The “Walleye Capital of the World” features world-class fishing, boating and beaches.

At different times of the year and around the islands fishermen catch steelhead trout, white bass, rock bass, largemouth bass and other species. For more information about fishing at Lake Erie Shores & Islands, visit


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5 Apps for Better Events


By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

We’re always thinking about our planners and how we can help make your job a little easier. Here at SportsEvents magazine we use a variety of software and apps to help us with everything from managing projects to communicating with team members. With all the apps available now and more being developed daily, innovative tools are on the market to help with everything from ticket sales to volunteer management.

Here are five apps to try:

Asana – We use this in our office so everyone knows what’s happening at all times. Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. The technology lets individuals and groups organize tasks to manage projects more efficiently. If you are part of a team or interact with clients, a project management (PM) tool allows you to share thoughts or ideas on various projects and store all the documents related to that project or task in one place. To learn more, go to:

Bizzabo – This is an all-in-one event software package for event organizers. It allows users to build websites, offer attendees a mobile app, sell tickets, manage the event registration, generate marketing on social media and gather data to measure the success of an event. Bizzabo is designed for small to medium-sized markets who want everything in one tool. The user enters the content and the app integrates tasks such as on-site check-in, speaker profiles, email, and social media integration. Bizzabo offers a free trial and a variety of pricing options on packages. For more information, visit

Evernote – This app lets individuals and teams share ideas and capture notes or designs on any device to aide in organization. While Evernote is a notes app, you also can add images, audio, scanned files, and ideas so it is easy to find when needed. The technology works on Macs, PCs and on mobile apps. The service is free, but has a paid premium option that offers more upload data each month if needed. For more information, visit

Regpack – Regpack is used by thousands of organizations worldwide for event management. The software allows users to manage registration, attendance, payments and reporting in one place. Free demos are available and the software is deployed in Cloud or online. This software allows users to manage sponsors, room blocks, vendors, leads, travel and ticketing in addition to other PM uses. To find out more, go to:

Guidebook – Guidebook is a mobile application builder that lets users create an app in four steps. No technical skills are required, according to the company. Users choose from a gallery of mobile app templates, select features, and fill the fields with content. The app is then ready to publish to Google Play and the Apple App Store. Guidebook is free for the first 200 downloads, but packages are available with standard and premium features. To learn more, go to

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March Madness: Best College Hoop Cities


By John Rezell

Check the calendar. It’s that time again. It’s all about the brackets.

As another NCAA Basketball Tournament draws near college hoop fans get wound up to the max while many others prepare for the one time each year when they have to remember just how a tournament bracket works.

I’ve always been a major college basketball fan. Having grown up in Milwaukee during the golden years of Marquette University basketball, it’s in my blood. I even savored the thrill of traveling to Oklahoma City to watch Marquette play in the 1977 tournament on its way to the championship in Al McGuire’s final season as coach.

The website WalletHub released its  NCAA Tournament Fun Facts infographic and some fun facts about hoop fans, including the best cities for college basketball fans.

To find 2017’s top spots for NCAA hoops, WalletHub crunched the numbers on 291 U.S. cities using seven key metrics ranging from the number of teams per city and the winning percentage of each to stadium capacity and social-media engagement.

Here’s the list of Best Cities:

Chapel Hill, NC
Los Angeles, CA
Durham, NC
Bloomington, IN
Philadelphia, PA
East Lansing, MI
Lawrence, KS
Lexington, K
Storrs, CT
Cullowhee, NC

WalletHub also offers some March Madness Fun Facts:
•    $7.3 Million – Annual salary of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski (6X more than Duke’s president), making him the highest paid college basketball coach.
•    17X – Difference between the average NBA rookie’s salary ($1.99M) and the average value of a college basketball player’s tuition, room and board ($120K).
•    $8.9 Billion – Estimated amount wagered illegally on the 2016 NCAA basketball tournament.
•    3.5 Million – Extra barrels of American beer are produced each March.
•    $66+ Million – Tournament’s impact on Dayton, Ohio’s economy since 2001.

Let the fun begin!

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Attracting Millenials, Las Vegas style

By John Rezell

Back in the day when we lived in Southern California, it wasn’t unusual for us to launch a spur of the moment road trip to Las Vegas.

Even as a somewhat frequent visitors we found it difficult to keep pace with the endless evolution that is known as Vegas. Old stomping grounds quickly became a hole in the ground, soon to be filled with the new and latest attraction that seemed to spring up overnight.

Vegas keeps its finger on the pulse of the public, so when Las Vegas decides to open an eSports Arena, it’s time for sports planners to take note.

The 15- to 34-year-olds in the millennial market are a different breed. As they infiltrate the workforce, their spending power increases. And what interests this fresh generation differs from Xers and Boomers.

Las Vegas has come to understand that millennials are not big on traditional gambling, so it has looked for new approaches to lure them. The eSports Arena is one example.

The 15,000-square-foot eSports venue will host competitive video game tournaments.

“Las Vegas needs to consistently reinvent itself to remain relevant to the up-and-coming generation,” Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and a member of the board of directors of Millennial Esports, the company behind the arena told the AP. “We’ve always come up with ways to maintain our position as the entertainment capital of the world.”

On March 3 the venue will open its doors with a three-day, $50,000-prize-pool Halo World Championship qualifier and it plans to host an EA Sports-sanctioned Madden 17 NFL tournament later this month.

The AP story on the new arena points out the many elements that are focused on attracting millennials. Within walking distance of downtown hotel-casinos, the arena has stadium-style seating overlooking the main stage for 200 with screens showing the live competition in other halls.

The entire facility was built in an area that once housed movie theaters and a nightclub. Yep, the kinda things Xers and Boomers enjoy.

The story also pointed out that “Las Vegas casinos have invested in numerous non-gaming amenities to attract the elusive millennials, from rooms with bunk beds for the young travelers who don’t want to spend a minute apart to a lounge that features pool, foosball and air hockey. The Downtown Grand, a short walk from the new arena, has an e-sports lounge, where tournament competitors, casual gamers and fans play and socialize.”

“The younger people don’t get enamored by the glitz and the glitter of something; it’s all about authenticity for them,” Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial Esports told the AP.

If you feel like targeting millennials, a road trip to Vegas might we worth it.

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Volleyball Vacations


By John Rezell

An entire volleyball team, coaches and parents packed more than a few tables shoved together at the Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle a few years ago, when the waiter asked the 14-year-old girls if they had any musical favorites they wanted to hear.

A lot of pop music requests followed, just as he figured, until one gal pipped up, “How about AC/DC’s Thunderstruck?”

The waiter burst out laughing and asked, “Whose daughter is this?”

My wife proudly confessed, and a few minutes later the place was rockin’.

As we closed out the Sports Events Vacations February issue I paused and took a trip down memory lane when driving around to youth volleyball tournaments gave us a chance to explore beyond the gymnasiums of a city.

I’m pretty sure our trip to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture might have slightly influenced my daughter’s music selection that day. Well, that and more than a couple of AC/DC songs playing on the five-hour drive up from Eugene.


Gazing out across Puget Sound from the top of the Space Needle after a ride on the Seattle Center Monorail, or strolling through an ocean of fresh seafood in the Pike Place Market are great memories of Seattle.

When volleyball took us to San Francisco, we gorged on sensational ice cream at Ghirardelli Square and warmed up from the cold winds blowing off the Pacific Ocean with clam chowder in sourdough bowls at Boudin Bakery.

Fact is, I don’t remember much about the volleyball, per se. The other memories, though, they will last a lifetime.


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Best Valentine Gift: A Workout


By John Rezell

Each Valentine’s Day I’m reminded of the best February 14th present I ever handed out.

Oh, it had nothing to do with chocolates or flowers.

It had everything to do with affairs of the heart.

Only a few months into my role as outdoor columnist for The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, OR, I wrote a column on using February 14th to remind everyone that the best gift you could give anyone in your life is to keep your own heart strong, healthy and ready to live a long, enjoyable life.

I wrote the column and then, of course, went on a hike. I received a few nice notes about it, and it pretty much slipped off my radar.

A little over a year later, I received a letter from a reader. She literally took my column to heart.

She said when she read it that Valentine morning it hit her hard. She used to love hiking and being very active outdoors. Somewhere along the line, life got in the way of that.

So, she cut out that column and placed it on the refrigerator door. Then she began hiking up Spencer’s Butte, a local hiking trail with a challenging climb to the top. She did it religiously, nearly every day for a year.

She wrote me a year later to say thank you. She shed a significant amount of weight, started eating healthier and, more important than anything, she felt good about herself again.

We went on a hike together to celebrate. I took her to one of my favorite waterfalls. Without question, it is one of my best hiking memories.

When you have the honor of writing for an audience, you never quite know who is listening or why. But every once in a while, you get to listen to a heart-warming story that makes you day.

Or, in my case, makes every Valentine’s Day just a bit more special.


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Planners Praise Oregon Sports Summit


Photo courtesy of MatchPoint Photography

By John Rezell

The beauty of sports and those who make it their business is how contagious athletic passion can be. You can literally feel it in a room.

On a cold, rainy February day in Oregon — with ice and snow threatening in the weather forecast, no less — more than 140 sports business enthusiasts gathered at the Valley River Inn for the first Oregon Sports Summit.

The brainchild of Janis Ross, Executive Director of the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Sports Commission, the event focused on giving sports planners of all levels the opportunity to learn, share and grow with sessions throughout the day.

Initially Ross thought the event would be a Lane County endeavor, but as soon as word got out, she received requests from across the state to attend.

That makes perfect sense, since the number of participants in sporting events, the number of events and the number of facilities across the nation continue to grow.

The turnout proves that sports planners are hungry to learn more and grow their properties. With Sports Commissions on the constant search for more business, helping arm planners with information is a great way to create partnerships.

When events grow, the entire industry benefits.

“The inaugural Oregon Sports Summit was a resounding success,” Ross said. “Educational content was outstanding, attendance exceeded goal, and our partners were ecstatic with the connections they were able to make. Our goal is to grow the Summit into an annual, and potentially multi-day, conference.”

Richard Maher, Race Director for the Eugene Marathon, praised the event.

“The Inaugural Oregon Sports Summit was a great opportunity for us at the Eugene Marathon to further engage with our local sports community,” Maher said. “It allowed us to share our knowledge of event production that we have gathered over the years as well as get some new ideas from up and coming events. The breakout sessions covered a wide variety of topics that appealed to all of our staff members. I cannot wait to see how this event grows in the future years.”

Vin Lananna, president of Tracktown USA and the United States Track & Field Association, was the keynote speaker. Lananna talked about the city of Eugene’s rise in the world of track over the past 10 years as the moniker “Tracktown USA” moved from being a local phrase to worldwide recognition.

In the past 10 years Eugene has been host to numerous U.S. Olympic Trials, NCAA Championships, a Junior World Championship. The city is preparing to become the first in the U.S. to host the World Championships in 2021.


Photo courtesy of MatchPoint Photography



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