Dear SWT members,

This letter is to inform you of our decision to not include the Fort Qu’Appelle tournament in our SWT 2016 circuit and to provide some background on events leading to the Thursday, Feb 18, 2016 meeting of the board of directors where this decision was discussed at length and the decision was made.

Last fall we were approached by the organizer of the FQ tournament (an SWT member) and asked for our thoughts on the tournament being affiliated with both the SWT and the CWT (Central Walleye Trail).  Over the course of the winter FQ did sign on with the CWT which in itself would not be an issue however the CWT affiliation also comes with a sponsorship from another boat manufacturer.  As you know our primary sponsor is Lund boats.

We did a lot of footwork and research before we made our decision.  We talked with events in Manitoba and Ontario that had reportedly faced this same issue, we had discussions with Lund and Brunswick (Lund’s parent company), other sponsors that we felt had a stake in this as well as with some of our other tournament organizers and talked with many SWT members.

The SWT has had a long standing relationship with Lund and they have been strong supporters of the SWT even through bad times when the economy and boat sales were weak, similar to the situation we are in now.

When making our decision, all the information we had was considered and we felt that the best business decision, the best decision for our members and the best way to show support and loyalty to our sponsors was to not affiliate with a tournament that has a different boat manufacturer as a major sponsor.

Other options such as allowing our members to use points from FQ to apply to their SWT standings were considered and although we make every effort to reward and have prizes that inexperienced anglers can benefit from, our core is still made up of very serious and qualified competitors that are fishing a circuit comparable to any tournament circuit in North America and we don’t want to water that down.

We currently have 12 directors on the SWT board.  All but three attended the meeting (a conference call) of which two gave us their vote prior to the meeting and one member did not participate in the meeting or previous discussions. The final vote was 10 in favor of our decision, 1 against and the 1 abstention.

To reiterate, we did what we thought was best for the SWT and our sponsors and want to emphatically state that personal biases did not affect our decision.

You may have seen recent Facebook posts regarding this topic and we do not want to bring this discussion to social media but I do wish to make one comment.  There were some posts suggesting this should have gone to a member wide vote.  The board of directors is elected by the members and it is the role of the board to make decisions that we consider to be in the best interest of the SWT, our sponsors and our members and that is what we did in the situation.  Any member is welcome to run for the board and/or come out to vote in board members at the annual general meeting.  In fact we would welcome new board members but getting new people to run has been somewhat problematic.  Anyone interested in getting more involved, please contact us.

I would like to finish by saying we wish the best for the Fort Qu’Appelle tournament in the direction they have taken and we in no way are discouraging our members from fishing this event, it is a fun tournament and fishing four different lakes adds a unique twist to the event.