Anglers cast out lures on Nottoway, bring back $700 for Area 29
Published 11:10 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014
FRANKLIN—When Mike Wise woke up Saturday morning before sunrise, he was concerned.
When he went outside to load into his truck, the fog was so thick that it was tough to see what he was doing. Then driving on the dark county roads was even more tough.
“As foggy as it was, I was like, ‘We are not going to have anyone show up,’” Wise said.
Wise, with the Three Rivers Bass Tournament Series, was set to have a competition on Saturday getting started at 5 a.m., but this wasn’t just any tournament — it was a fundraiser for Area 29 Special Olympics — so it needed to go off well.
As it turned out, he need not have worried.
“They were all right here waiting,” Wise said of the 258 South boat launch, where they were having the event.
And they were happy to come out and help, said Keith Vick.
“That is why we are out here, is to help them,” he said of that particular tournament. “It is a wonderful charity. Hopefully, we can continue this on — do it more times a year.”
All in all, Wise said they had 21 boats come out to support the cause.
“We might have had more boats if it had not been so bad this morning,” he said. “But we did really good and took in a lot of money.”
From their proceeds, the Three Rivers Bass Tournament donated $410, and out of their own treasury, they also pitched in an additional $100, to make it a total of $510 from TRBT. But that wasn’t where it stopped, as many anglers also pitched in some money after the tournament was over, which included $94.50, the prize for second place won and donated by Vick and his son, K.J.
“It is the right thing to do, when you are in a charity tournament. We do this because we enjoy it, not for the money. There is peace and quiet out on the water, and I get to spend quality time with him,” Keith said of his 15-year old son K.J.
“I think it is a special cause to give money back to. I think it is just a great thing to do, to just give the money back, and I hope we have it more often,” said K.J. about the fundraiser.
In total, Area 29 Special Olympics was able to add a little more than $700 due to the tournament, said area treasurer Pat Smith.
Area 29 Coordinator Frank Zielinski said Saturday was a great thing.
“Whether we get $1 or we get $20 or $500, it is all appreciated and it helps us out,” he said. “It is money that we did not have before.”
Zielinski said the bass tournament did a great job Saturday, and that he was looking forward to next year.
“This is their first event that they have done with us, and it can grow bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “We may have two or three more area bass groups come out to this tournament and help us do everything bigger next year.”
The athletes were also there, two of them, Tim Zielinski, Frank’s son, and Ethan Smith, Pat’s son, were up early at 5 a.m., and they helped inspect and launch the boats.
“I liked it a lot,” said Tim, whose favorite part of Special Olympics is playing golf, though he also swims. “I liked launching the boats. I helped out my dad.”
Ethan, who swims, bowls and plays volleyball, said he had a favorite part of the day.
“The number of boats of calling, that was exciting,” he said of calling out the boats as they went in the water. “It was kind of fun. I have never been on a boat for a long time.”
Frank and his son Tim were also able to go out on the water. Though when asked if he caught anything, Tim said, “No,” with a smile, adding that he did try and that it is tougher than it looks.
His father didn’t catch anything either — well, almost.
“I caught a sunburn,” he said with a laugh, as the sun did eventually shine strong on the day. “Riding up and down and waving at everyone who was in the fishing tournament was a lot of fun. We actually went all the way up the river, all the way down into North Carolina, and waved at everybody. We saw a couple of fish getting caught, which was real exciting.”
Other Area 29 athletes also came out, including Jorden Jarratt, Spenser Holt and Ian Wolfe.
“They all had a ball,” Pat said. “Some of them had never been around fishing like this before so they got a good little education today. It’s also good for the people to relate to the athletes and see what they are donating to, what Special Olympics is.”
One of the fishermen, Bob Holt, said he had worked with Pat and knew how important this was to she and Ethan.
“I know these people,” he said. “And what they do is good. It’s a good cause.”
He and his son Matt Holt had come in first place that day, and they donated back to the cause as well. Matt also caught the biggest bass of the day at 6.5 pounds.
“I caught it on a frog, up the Nottoway in the pads,” he said, but added that he was “just lucky” when asked if he did anything special.
“I actually went to school with one of the guys, Spenser, at Nansemond River,” Matt said. “It was good to see him and the others. It’s a good cause.”
Wise said it was a good day.
“I think the kids summed it up better than I ever could,” he said. “Everyone had a good time today, even all the fishermen, and even the guys who did not catch anything had a great time — just being out on the river, enjoying themselves and getting to meet the kids.”