Sixth annual Keith Combs Sam Rayburn Slam Tournament

The 6th Annual Keith Combs Sam Rayburn Slam took place last weekend near the Elite Series angler’s home in Huntington, Texas. This year’s event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir had a new twist as Combs teamed up with recently retired Elite pro Jay Yelas and his C.A.S.T For Kids Foundation that takes disabled and disadvantaged youth fishing.
Combs and wife, Jennifer, were proud to launch the inaugural Keith Combs Sam Rayburn Slam children’s event, which began with a banquet fundraiser on Friday in Lufkin’s Pitser Garrison Convention Center. Combs said East Texas showed out, filling every seat in the room for the evening.
Jay Yelas, the executive director of the C.A.S.T. For Kids, was on hand. Since its inception in 1991, the foundation has held more than 1,140 events and put close to 150,000 disabled and disadvantaged kids on the water. Yelas introduces C.A.S.T. For Kids participant Dylan Tedder, who sang the national anthem.
Bassmaster Open pro Clay Dyer, the world’s most inspirational angler, was the special guest speaker. Jim Behnken, the Texas Director of C.A.S.T. For Kids, served as emcee.
Several special C.A.S.T. children attended the banquet and live auction, which opened with cakes decorated by the kids. Yelas said, “Keith and Jennifer Combs have hearts of gold. What a difference they made in their community and across America! Their support of the C.A.S.T. For Kids Foundation will provide an opportunity for several hundred children with special needs to go fishing and to be celebrated next year.”
Behnken, who oversaw the event, said “The projected budget totals were absolutely shattered with the evening bringing in over $103,000! Texans stepped up in a big way to help the foundation continue to provide days of fishing to children with special needs. It was an amazing 24-hour period. I feel in years to come this event will spawn many other C.A.S.T. For Kids events in which children with special needs can overcome limitations and have a glorious day on the water with their families. Every child, no matter what their physical or families’ financial limitations are, should be able to feel the tug of a fish on a line, and the wind in their face on a boat ride.”
Following are among the several dozen C.A.S.T. For Kids anglers, some of whom experienced their first catch. All of them got to weigh in on the big stage set up at the Umphrey Pavilion on Sam Rayburn. Here’s Superstar Julio.
Superstar Anthony caught a fish.
So did Superstar Grayson, who like all the kids received free tackle.
Combs helps Superstar Brooke show off her first fish.
Superstar Linkyn and Kross holds first fish awards and were helped by members of the Jasper bass fishing club.
Kayden and Julian received C.A.S.T. For Kids Superstar status.
Here’s Superstar Skyler.
Superstar Tripp caught a couple.
Superstar Cooper shows off his new tackle while Brooke shows off the plaque with her fish photo.
Jim Behnken asks Kayden about his day.
Combs made a Superstar friend in Antonio.
Most likely because he helped Antonio catch the biggest bass of the day. Combs said he and Jennifer were humbled by the region’s response. “To see the community come together and support this wonderful cause means the world to us. The joy on these kids’ faces is what it’s all about, and we look forward to hosting this event on an annual basis,” he said. “Thank you to our wonderful sponsors and volunteers for your help in making this event a tremendous success.”
In the Team Tournament, fourth place went to Forest Griffin and Anthony Shoffitt (left) with 17.02 pounds, while Tim Johnson and Dustin Johnson rounded out the top 5 with 15.62. There were 60 teams in the event.
The third-place team of Wesley Dawson and Joe Mazzurco weighed in 17.33.
Jason Bonds and Derek Mundy had 18.15 to finish second. Combs made sure to thank all the participants and volunteers, with a special thanks going to the SETX High School Fishing Assn. for running the weigh-in.
Tater Reynolds and Harold Moore topped the field with an impressive 25.64-pound bag that was anchored by two Sam Rayburn 10-pounders.
Moore had the bigger of the two, an 11.46-pound lunker that topped the event. The team took home a total of $5,600, including two big bass awards.