Fishing tournament scheduled

Published 12:27 pm Saturday, May 31, 2014

FRANKLIN—Dedication to a friend’s memory is again the motive for the fifth annual fishing tournament to benefit the Christopher D. Ray Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, and will be at the Hercules Boat Ramp off General Thomas Highway.

Both the fishing and fundraising are the personal project of John Barksdale, who was a friend to the late Christopher Ray since they were in kindergarten.

“From an early age Christopher was an avid outdoorsman, who especially favored hunting and fishing along the Nottoway River in and around his hometown of Courtland,” said Barksdale.

As a young adult, Christopher went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Radford University. That was in May 2009. He returned to Courtland and got to become a deputy for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Department. He only got to serve for a few months, though. While responding to a 911 call on Aug. 29, Christopher was in a patrol car accident that killed him.

“Christopher was my lifelong best friend,” said Barksdale. “Keeping his memory alive is something I hold very close to my heart. I’d also like to thank everyone who has come out and supported us over the past four years.”

With the help of the family, he organized the scholarship fund that goes to promoting careers in public safety. This year is the fourth one for the fundraiser.

Check-in will be at 6 a.m. and fishermen are expected to be released at 6:45 a.m. Registration costs $35 per person; a ticket to the Beef BBQ is included.

There will be five winning categories: largest by weight, sunfish, bass, gar, bowfin and “most species.”

Fishermen will be permitted to fish in any body of water, including ponds, lakes, etc.

The banquet will be at the Franklin-Southampton Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served from 6 to 8 p.m. Music will be provided by the Hickory Knoll Band and DvDJ Squirrel.

For details, call John Barksdale at 653-8341 or visit