Christopher Ray Memorial Scholarship Fishing Tournament nets $14,000

Published 11:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2012

COURTLAND—The third annual Christopher Ray Memorial Scholarship Fishing Tournament raised a record $14,000.

Held on June 16 from the Hercules Boat Ramp outside Franklin, the event included 36 boats. For the first time, the fundraiser also included a barbecue at the Southampton County Fairgrounds attended by more than 300.

“To everyone who contributed time, money, or both, I am forever grateful for your love and support,” said organizer John Barksdale, who was Ray’s childhood friend. “I can think of no better way to honor Christopher’s life than by doing what he loved the most, fishing on the Nottoway and partying with friends and family.”

Winners for the largest fish in their class were the teams of Kevin Gunn and Allen Butler for bass, Matt and Todd Thorpe for bowfin, Bob and Chase Magette, and Joey Drake for gar, and Tony and April Lane for a sunfish.

The tournament was started in 2010 in honor of Ray, a Southampton Academy graduate, who at age 22 was killed in a car crash while working as a deputy for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. The first two tournaments raised over $5,000 each.

A 2009 graduate of Radford University, Ray received a degree in criminal justice before joining the Sheriff’s Office on June 1.

The scholarship is for a student pursuing a career in public safety. This year’s went to Zachary Ramsey, who will begin his third semester at Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta, where he is majoring in criminal justice.

A Courtland native, Ramsey graduated from Southampton Academy in 2011.

His passion for law enforcement developed at an early age while spending time with retired Southampton County Sheriff Vernie Francis and at the former Flowers Exxon in Courtland, where deputies would stop for coffee. Ramsey’s grandfather, James Flowers, owned the convenience store until early 2011.