by Timothy Montales
Lucky Lure Tackle’s weekly Tuesday night jackpot bass tournaments in Lake Hefner have been cancelled; while David Hughes, owner of the Oklahoma City tackle store, was informed he must buy an insurance policy to cover the city from liabilities should the tournaments push forward. The weekly jackpot tournaments were held for seven years on the lake.
“I think it is a little bit senseless because they got all kinds of other events that nobody is buying a permit for much less buying an insurance policy for. It is pretty aggravating to me,” Hughes said in a NewsOK article.
Jennifer McClintock, public information officer, Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, stated that requiring an insurance policy for activities on the city’s public lakes and properties is fundamental.
In an email sent to The Oklahoman, McClintock said that: “Any business that wishes to offer an event to the public and charge a fee for said event (including parks and lakes) is required to have a city permit and event insurance. This protects the city and the taxpayers from liability should an accident occur during the event. This is true for sporting events (5Ks, ball games, etc.), as well as concerts, exercise programs (i.e. cross fit and boot camps) and other events.”
McClintock also said that city officials were unaware of the bass tournaments amid its seven year run until recently, while Lisa Hubbell, trust specialist, Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, believed that it would be a different story if it was only a social gathering and not a tournament where money was involved.
“If they were just fishing as part of their fishing permit, we wouldn’t care. But as soon as you pull it into an actual tournament, it’s an organized event. From the city’s standpoint, we don’t want to be exposed to liability,” Hubbell stated.
McClintock mentioned that private groups hosting events like a birthday party or a reunion who are not charging an admission can rent facilities without buying insurance, but a special event permit and insurance will be required if the event is hosting 75 people.
“The city processes hundreds of event and permitting requests annually on multiple properties, so this is part of our standard operating procedure,” she added.
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