April 15, 2014
The annual FLW Will For Fish For Kids Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Charity Bass Tournament took place this past Monday on Beaver Lake which piggybacked the Walmart FLW Tour that wrapped up on Sunday. Conditions were less than favorable with wind, cold temperatures and even some snow, but true to form FLW Tour pros showed up to fish for a good cause.
The event is hosted by Walmart, the Children's Miracle Network and FLW and kicks off the Sunday night before the tournament. A silent auction and dinner comprise the evening to raise money for the Dental Clinic at the Arkansas Children's Hospital. This year over $18,000 was raised at the auction alone - getting the event off on the right foot.
Shirley Crain - who fishes the FLW Tour as a pro and is from Fort Smith, Ark. - was this year's Honorary Chair for the charity event.
"Being a part of this event has been so fulfilling," said Crain. "I have had a wonderful time. It is so great seeing people embrace helping children. With the economy the way it is and people watching their spending it is so uplifting to see them open their doors and pocketbooks to help children.
"FLW has been a major supporter of involving sportsman in charity for children. Every place we (the FLW Tour) go anglers take time to help out at schools, hospitals and charities. When it comes down to it, fisherpeople are family people so it makes sense that they are so eager to help with events like this."
After the successful evening on Sunday, nearly 60 anglers comprised of Tour pros, Tour co-anglers, sponsoring company representatives and a few other helpful souls pulled into the Prairie Creek Marina yesterday morning to start the tournament.
Just like the Tour event that took place the days prior, FLW staff had all the normal takeoff amenities like Folgers coffee, doughnuts and music playing to complete the vibe of a big-time tournament. The only exception was the complete spread of packed lunches and breakfast items for all teams competing.
With multiple layers of clothes and full stomachs, the teams launched at 7 a.m. to compete in an eight hour tournament. Despite the miserable conditions on the water the teams hung in there and arrived back the marina at 3 o'clock. While it is nothing new to the Tour pros, other competitors got to experience a true weigh-in by walking across the FLW weigh-in stage setup at the boat ramp with FLW's Jason Harper taking the emcee duties.
For simply competing, each team received a gift bag that included donations from the various sponsors. However, the top three teams would receive trophies along with a trophy for the biggest bass weighed in.
After the scale was closed, the team of Typhoon pro Tim Malone and Walmart's Bob Bolton took home to top hardware with their limit of bass weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. The duo would also score big bass honors for the day. Second place belonged to Jason Christie and Jim Enneking of PRADCO Outdoor Brands with 18 pounds even. And third place honors went to pro Kelly Power and Walmart's Jay Johnston for their 15-3 catch.
To close out the event, Shirley Crain presented a check to Mary Lewallen who is the Associate Development Officer at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation for $75,719, but a late donation actually pushed the check to a value of $76,219. This topped last year's number of more than $47,000 raised at the event. In total over $572,000 has been raised for the Dental Clinic from this event since 2005.
For more information about the event, click here.