Tournament for tornado victims

Mother Nature pounded the Central United States in May with massive tornadoes that hit Moore and El Reno, Okla. In the wake of such devastation, members of the University of West Georgia Bass Fishing Team decided to organize a fishing tournament and send the proceeds to those affected by the storms.

UWG Bass Club President Kenny Johnson decided to use the momentum from the club’s recent success in competition to help organize the event. “We wanted to help the victims after we saw how bad it was. We also wanted to show that we’re more than just a fishing club,” Johnson said.

Johnson and fellow teammate Brandon Larry founded the UWG Bass Fishing Club during their freshman year. The team made a big splash in the collegiate bass fishing scene earlier this year when they managed to finish in 10th place at the 2013 Carhartt College Series Southern Regional Tournament. Their most recent success came at the Carhartt College Series Georgia State Championships where they beat out 20 teams for the grand prize.

Johnson contacted Highland Marina Resort of West Point Lake who agreed to host the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Charity Tournament which will take place July 13. “They are hosting the tournament for us free of charge,” Johnson said.

I also reached out to several of my contacts in the industry, one of them being Dave Ittner, Tournament and Pro Staff Manager at Yamaha, who immediately offered several Yamaha products for our raffle to aide those affected by the tornados.  “I spent 33 years in Oklahoma, Tulsa to be exact and have seen firsthand the devastation a tornado can cause” said Ittner.  “Yamaha is honored to be a partner and we look for other sponsors to join and help raise money through this Charity Tournament” “We also have Yamaha and some other local sponsors who have planned to donate prizes that will be raffled off.”

There will be a $100 entry fee. Based on a field of 100 boats, the grand prize will be $2,000 with other payouts to the Top 14 finishers. There will also be an optional big-fish fee of $10. The rest of the proceeds and the money raised by the raffle will be given to victims of the tornados.

“This is a great cause, and we hope everybody comes out to support it,” Johnson said.

The tournament is set to begin at safe light and will be divided into two flights. Weigh-in for the first flight will be at 3 p.m. with the second flight weighing in at 3:15 p.m. To register, contact Kenny Johnson. 678-416-1955.