Tournaments like Big Rock draw crowds into Carteret County, now people are deciding to stay

Crystal Coast

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – Carteret County is home to the fishing capital of the country, the Crystal Coast, national events and tournaments that keep the area afloat. 

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The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is the largest event the county sees, taking place right in the heart of Morehead City. 

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This year’s week-long fishing quest brought in the most people leaders have seen.

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“A record number of people, a record number of boats a record purse so there was a lot of excitement around Big Rock this year, and it had a really big impact on the community,”  said Carteret County’s Interm Economic Impact Director Michele Querry.

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That impact Querry said includes second homeowners making Carteret County their permanent residence, revenue from occupancy taxes, packed food stops and shops. 

Leaders say the most impressive thing they are seeing from these types of events is how they are keeping the downtown small business’s alive during a time most are struggling. 

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“Oh my gosh it was packed … it was packed, you had fish coming in all times of the day,” said Morehead City Downtown Manager Lisa Reueh while describing Big Rock 2021 crowds.  
 
Reueh said businesses are still feeling staff shortages, but one thing owners haven’t had to do was close their doors. Morehead City did not see one local business leave the area in the last year. City leaders say that is due to the impact on summer tourism and tournaments like Big Rock. 

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