Christopher Ray fishing tourney set for June 18

Published 9:21 am Friday, June 10, 2011

FRANKLIN—The second annual Christopher Ray Memorial Scholarship Fishing Tournament will be held 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 18, from Hercules Boat Ramp outside Franklin.

First-place trophies will be awarded for largest bream, bass, gar and bowfin.

Ray, 22, was killed in an August 2009 car accident while working as a deputy for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. Friends last year organized the first tournament, which hosted 20, two-person teams and raised $5,500.

The scholarship is for a student pursuing a career in public safety. This year’s $1,000 recipient was Jamison Storm Gray, a 2011 graduate of Southampton Academy. The son of Shari and Carl Gray, he will study criminal justice at Radford University.

Organizer John Barksdale, who was Ray’s childhood friend, is hoping for 30 boats this year.

Barksdale hasn’t fished the Nottoway recently but hears it’s been good.

“The river is in good shape, and we haven’t had a ton of rain,” he said. “I think the weather is supposed to be in our favor.”

Last year’s winners included Christopher Ray’s younger brother, Cameron, and his partner, Blake Drewry, for the largest bream. The 1-pound, 12-ounce sunfish was big enough to earn a citation from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Others receiving trophies were:

• Andrew Darden and Ben Lane for largest bass, 2 pounds, 9.1 ounces

• Matt Nixon and Chris Barham for largest gar, 3 pounds, 7.9 ounces

• Jason Francis and Pughs Drake for largest bowfin, 6 pounds

The $60 registration fee covers a one- to two-person team and T-shirt. Registration begins at 6 a.m. at Hercules Club House. To pre-register, call 653-9367 or 653-8342.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can make checks payable to Chamber of Commerce and mail them to Chamber of Commerce, in care of John Barksdale, P.O. Box 44, Courtland, Va. 23837.