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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Optimist Club Fishing Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake heads into its 45th edition this weekend with a new name and sponsor. It is called the Roanoke Valley Optimist's & Challenger Little League Baseball Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament. Most participants will be happy to catch a fish as long as the title.
Be aware, the format has changed little. Cash totaling up to $15,000 will be awarded for the four heaviest fish entered in categories for largemouth bass, muskie, crappie, smallmouth bass, catfish and striped bass. First place is worth $1,000; second, $500; third $300; fourth, $150.
Tickets are $40. Gills Creek Marina will serve as tournament headquarters. Fishing begins 7:30 a.m. Friday and ends at Noon Sunday. The awards take place around 2 p.m. Sunday.
Included in the program will be the Ninth Annual Bill Cochran Youth Tournament held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The event if free to kids 12 and under accompanied by an adult ticket holder. There are categories for large fish (carp) and small fish (sunfish). Trophies, fishing gear and cash prizes, rather than the saving bonds of the past, will be awarded this year.
Tickets for the tournament must be purchased prior to the event. The deadline is 7:30 p.m. Thursday except at Gills Creek Marina where they will be available until 7:30 a.m. Friday. Tickets and brochures are available at Franklin Outdoors, Captain's Quarters, Metro Heavy Duty Distributors, Thomson Masonry, Bryansteens, Sportsman Warehouse, Bay Roc Marina, Trader Jerry's and Salem Hydraulics.
Since its beginning, the Optimist Club of Cave Spring's tournament has served as a fund-raiser for youth programs, including support of Challenger Little League Baseball (CLLB) since 1989.
"The Optimist Club has turned over leadership of this tournament to the CLLB group as they are unsure of the future of their club," said Sid Witt, spokesman for the new sponsor. "The CLLB intends to continue this annual Smith Mountain Lake tournament."
Challenger Little League Baseball is a non-profit division of Little League Baseball that provides boys and girls with mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to experience the fun of playing baseball with all expenses paid, Witt said. That's where the tournament profits will go.
New time, new place for Mark Taylor's Outdoor page
If you are like me, you probably had to do some searching to find the latest edition of Mark Taylor's Outdoor page in The Roanoke Times. It has been moved from Friday to Sunday and from the sports section to the business section.
I asked Mark if he will he be wearing a coat and tie now that he is in the business section? No response, yet. But I feel certain the answer is no.
The Outdoor page has been moved around in the past, and the motivation hasn't always been what's in the best interest of the page and the people who read it. For a time, when I was the outdoor editor, it ran on Mondays, which probably was the worst day you could pick. It also has been featured on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
But it never has been outside the sports pages, so the business section setting will take some getting used to. When I found it there Sunday, I had a tough time overcoming the feeling it is out of place. Outdoor recreation is more sport than business, although I agree it is a bit of both.
I started the page in the early 1960s and Mark took over in 1998. It was a pioneer concept 50 years ago, and I had to sell the idea to my bosses who responded: "What, a full page on the outdoor!" It was well received by readers, and in 1975 I was asked to write a chapter titled "Preparing the Outdoor Page" for a manual published by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Guess who is president of that outfit now? Mark Taylor. Small world.
Mark has done a great job of advancing the outdoor page, winning a number of national awards along the way and working hard to provide outdoor coverage at a time when space and money are tight and many newspapers are cutting back. No matter what day or what section the outdoor page is moved to, its loyal readers will find it. That's what counts the most.
Handicapped hunt a big success in Bedford
If you put 15 hunters in the turkey woods and three come back with a big bird, that's a tremendous success. What if those hunters were disabled? Well, that is special.
That's how it was with the James River Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation during its recent Wheelin' Sportsmen Hunt in Bedford County.
"Three hunters managed to put birds on the ground and some nice birds at that, all over 20 pounds with the heaviest weighing in at a tad over 23 pounds," said Barry Arrington, one of the sponsors.
The successful hunters were Davy Balderson of Waynesboro; Tim Richey of Christiansburg and Chris Shelton of Richmond.
It takes a bunch of volunteers along with landowners willing to let hunters on their property to pull off a hunt like this, and Arrington thanked each one.
Youth recognized at Botetourt Longbeards banquet
The Botetourt Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation built on its national reputation of being youth friendly by honoring several young people during its annual banquet Saturday.
Colin Anderson and Hunter Wolfe were recognized as qualifiers for two of the four slots on the Virginia 4-H Shotgun Team. They will compete nationally later this year.
Scholarships of $500 were awarded Kristopher Hoffman of Lord Botetourt High School and Hunter McCoy III of James River High School. The scholarships recognize young people who have an interest in the outdoors along with academic achievements and community service.
Austin Brugh and Brian Howard won cash awards for essays they wrote.
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