The first annual Ike Foundation fundraiser

OK guys, it’s just around the corner! On Aug. 6 The Ike Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoor Program are partnering to put on the 2016 Ike Celebrity Pro Am Bass Tournament. It’s going to be a big deal. More importantly, it’ll raise money to help get kids fishing.

We’ll be on the Delaware River at the Camden, N.J., waterfront. There’s more than one reason we choose this location. To begin with, it’s near my home so Becky and I can watch over everything. We know the area so we can pick the best support people and make sure everything is A-OK.

It’s also metropolitan. That’s critical to get kids out fishing. Not every child lives near a big reservoir but almost every city in the country has a river running through it. And, despite what a lot of people think, they’re full of fish. We intend to prove that.

The third reason is that I learned to fish on the Delaware River. Without the lessons I learned running around on her I would never have developed the skills I have now. I love that river and I want other anglers to love her, too. (It’s true, I have a sentimental side.)

Our fishing tournament starts in the morning. There are several classes you can enter depending on your goals. The big thing, though, is that we have around 20 Elite Series pros and celebrities signed up as anglers. If you enter that class, you’ll have a chance to fish the tournament with one of them. Specific pairing will be determined by a random drawing.

There are classes for college anglers as well as first responders, active duty military servicemen and women, veterans and amateurs, too. Each class has a different entry fee but once on the water everyone is an equal.

The winner of the tournament will take home a new BassCat boat and motor donated by BassCat. Second place will receive an Exmark mower. It’s a Lazer Z X-Series with a 60-inch Ultra Cut deck, again donated by Exmark.

And, there will be a number of trophies awarded by Dave Smith. His company makes most of the trophies for college team sports in our country and for most of the professional championships. You know they’ll be first-class.

While the fishing is going on there’ll be a family fun event with games and plenty of food. Admission is free and everyone is invited. You don’t have to be a fish-head to bring the kids and have a good time.

There’ll be a dinner in the evening that’s free to anyone who fished the tournament and anyone else who purchases a ticket. It’s a family affair with special pricing for the kids. Before and during the dinner there’ll be a silent auction with sports memorabilia from every professional sport we could think of as well as vacation packages and tons of fishing tackle. We’ll also make sure there’s plenty of meet and greet time with the pros and the celebrities.

We’ve also arranged special pricing on rooms for anyone in need of accommodations.

One thing I want to make clear about this event is that with the exception of rent and food every dollar of our proceeds will go to help kids get started fishing. No one other than the kids will recieve one penny for anything.

You can get all the details at www.theikefoundation.org. I encourage everyone to attend if that’s at all possible.

Next time I’m going to talk about why we need to get kids fishing. There’s more to it than just enjoying the outdoors. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.