Hooked on helping children in need

B.A.S.S. anglers and staff recently combined efforts in support of the second annual H.O.O.K. (Helping Out Our Kids) Charity Fishing Tournament on Beaver Lake, Ark.

The event, which was sponsored by Sam’s Club to benefit Children’s Miracle Network and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, was held April 13 on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark., with approximately 140 anglers competing and boating about 450 fish. The tournament raised more than $30,000 in donations for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

In a thank you note to B.A.S.S., Tim Yatsko, senior vice president, Sam’s Club Replenishment, Planning, Innovations, and Real Estate, said, “The excitement your organization brought to the event made it a success. And, we’re not done helping. We have already started planning for next year’s event. This year’s donation to CMN was twice last year’s, and we hope to double that again next year.”

Helping to coordinate the benefit were Jason Piper, replenisher manager of Wal-Mart; B.A.S.S. owner Jerry McKinnis, B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon and B.A.S.S. senior tournament manager Chuck Harbin, as well as bait shop owner and tournament organizer Aaron Jolliff.

For the fundraiser, more than 500 anglers gathered at the Embassy Suites to preregister, bid, eat and visit with McKinnis, Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and 15 Bassmaster Elite Series anglers. A silent auction netted more than $6,500 that evening. Anglers received $23,000 in cash and prizes. A popular portion of the benefit was auctioning Elite Series anglers to spend the day fishing with the highest bidders. On the block were Rick Clunn, Mike McClelland, Davy Hite, Jason Quinn and Chris Lane.

Other Elite Series anglers fishing the tournament were: Stephen Browning, Jamie Horton, Travis Manson, John Murray, J Todd Tucker, Bobby Lane, Scott Ashmore, Jeff Kriet, Charlie Hartley and Brent Broderick.

“B.A.S.S. helped us out tremendously for this event,” said Piper. “We went to Jerry McKinnis, who has a heart the size of Texas, and he agreed to work with us. It’s a great cause, because the money we raise goes to families who can’t afford to pay for their children’s treatment. Many people are going through hard times right now, and medical bills pile up for sick children. Parents can’t always afford the best care, and we help them get that for their kids.”

McKinnis said the event was the culmination of more than three months of coordination, and the results exceeded expectations.

“It was important for us to be part of this to help families in need,” McKinnis said. “We had our Elite guys here, and the anglers were auctioned. It was a lot of fun. Everybody got a real charge out of those guys being there. It worked out perfectly. Everybody is pumped up about next year, but this will be a hard act to follow.”

Piper said Weldon and Harbin were instrumental in ensuring the tournament went off without a hitch.

“It was a great opportunity for B.A.S.S,” said Harbin, who served as tournament director and weigh master of the event. “I have kids and grandkids, and I can’t think of better organizations to raise money for than the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We had a great time and look forward to working with H.O.O.K. and Sam’s Club in the future.”

Also helping to coordinate the event were: Mike Keller director of innovations, Sam’s Club; Jeremy Farmer, buyer, Wal-Mart; and Roger Cravens, global sourcing Wal-Mart.

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