HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. — A fall benefit tournament has helped brighten the holidays of needy families in Western Kentucky for nearly two decades.
The Hopkins County Bass Club’s 19th annual Fall Bass Classic drew 80 teams on Sept. 24 at Kentucky Lake. Billy Schroeder and Shawn Penn won the benefit tournament with a five-fish limit weighing 17.22 pounds.
All the entry fees were paid back to the contestants but the event was still a fundraiser for the club since the anglers donated more than 100 new toys and sponsors bought advertising to help support the club’s holiday activities “We put together a 16-page booklet of ads from sponsors and that is where we really make our money,” said Randy Workman, the club’s charity tournament director. “By the time the booklet is published, which is about a month and a half before the tournament, we are done fundraising.
The club raised $1,000 more than the previous year and spent $7,000 on Thanksgiving and Christmas for needy families. “For Thanksgiving 14 club members bought and delivered 81 food baskets [including a turkey and food for a family of four to six] to families,” said Workman. “All of the families are suggested by club members and some of our 70 tournament sponsors. Then we verify through the local schools that they are not on other lists to be helped.”
Seven families received some Christmas cheer from the club. Six of the families were given food baskets, toys and clothes for all the kids and something for each adult delivered by Santa (Club president Alan Cunningham) and club members. The club also gave cash to a family that lost their home to a fire in December. Ten club members and their wives or girlfriends shopped for the Christmas gifts and wrapped the presents at Workman’s office.
The club purchased an additional 40 food baskets for the Teen Challenge (a program that helps teenagers with drug problems), a local organization that deals with unwed mothers, and families with school-age children who were recommended by the West Broadway Family Resource Center.