Hot Springs ON THE GO!

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Ads - Beth Bright As­so­ciate editor

It's no se­cret that our area lakes are a huge draw for vis­i­tors year-round, and the bal­ance of beau­ti­ful wa­ters and warm hos­pi­tal­ity is what keeps them com­ing back. The For­rest Wood Cup, Fish­ing League World­wide's world cham­pi­onship of bass fish­ing, re­turns to Lake Oua­chita Aug. 20-23 with its expo and other events held at the Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and Bank of the Ozarks Arena, and as Steve Ar­ri­son, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said of the an­nounce­ment of the tour­na­ment's re­turn in 2014, “they've been here so many times they're fa­mil­iar with the peo­ple here and the piers. It's like a home­com­ing and they're just as ex­cited as we are.”

Fifty pros will fish for $500,000, com­pet­ing for two days be­fore the 20-man semi­fi­nal round on Aug. 22 pro­duces 10 fi­nal­ists. Hot Springs has hosted the tour­na­ment a to­tal of three times, most re­cently in 2011, and two Arkansas na­tives have won in that time.

Bryant's Scott Suggs was the first pro­fes­sional an­gler to re­ceive a $1 mil­lion first prize in 2007, and Hot Springs' Ge­orge Cochran, a two-time Bass­mas­ter Clas­sic cham­pion, fished within sight of his lake­front home in win­ning the 2005 For­rest Wood Cup ti­tle.

In 2007 alone, more than 60,000 peo­ple were in at­ten­dance over the course of four days, and with events for the en­tire fam­ily — in­clud­ing the Bass & BBQ com­pe­ti­tion, which will be held in the soon-to-be com­pleted Bax­ter Plaza.

Fish­ing en­thu­si­ast or not, the FLW is sure to bring back plenty of en­ter­tain­ment and fun for all ages. Let's make it our goal to wel­come them with the hos­pi­tal­ity that will keep this or­ga­ni­za­tion com­ing back for years to come.

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