On August 23, 2014 the rising sun over Lake Conroe greeted 38-angler teams that came together at the StowAway Marina to benefit a 4-year old girl, Kali Grace Wiggins. Kali was unable to be with us as she is currently at the Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) in Houston, Texas undergoing treatment for a Wilm’s Tumor which is a form of kidney cancer. Little Kali was admitted into TCH back on June 23, 2014 and in July friends of the family reached out to members of The BASS Club requesting assistance in raising funds to help the Wiggins family for growing expenses not covered by medical insurance. The president of The BASS Club, Matt Russell, along with assistance of the Southeast Region Texas B.A.S.S. Nation organized the tournament to raise much needed funds for the family. The entry into this event was $100 with $40 of that entry going to help the Wiggins family. The Big Bass Bounty entry was an “Optional” $20 extra and after all entries were recorded it was noted that all 38 teams participated in the $500 Big Bass Bounty sponsored by Russell Construction Company of Conroe, TX. The entries and big bass monies collected $2,280.00 for Kali.
As the anglers were on the water and ready to go, Terry Reich with the Seven Coves Bass Club started the take-off by leading a prayer for Kali, followed by our Country’s National Anthem. At approximately 6:30 am the anglers began to depart in numbered order to begin a quest to find three qualifying bass to the scales by the scheduled weigh in time of 1:00 pm.
When all the teams checked in at the weigh in site, it appeared that all the teams had fished hard but only some were able to boat 16” keepers. The weigh in was conducted by, David Glezman (Southeast Region Texas B.A.S.S. Nation Director) and after recognizing the family members and assisting volunteers the scales were opened and the angler’s fish were weighed.
After 21 of the 38 entered teams brought their catch to the scales, the team of Tony Murray and Julian Clepper found themselves at the top of the leader board. Tony and Julian managed to find their 3-fish limit, tipping the scales at 13.70 pounds, capturing 1st Place. Their sack was backed by Lake Conroe behemoth of a bass weighing 9.03 pounds, which claimed the $500 Big Bass Bounty.
In a close 2nd Place, just 0.63 of a pound behind 1st place, was the team of Brian Dorman and Ronnie Wagner who brought a limit of 3 fish that weighed 13.07 pounds across the scales. Team Ty Russell and James Walker found themselves in 3rd Place after the smoke cleared weighing their event limit of 3 bass for 12.11 pounds. Following closely, the team of Bill Wedelich and David Perciful managed to find 3 fish that pressed the scales at 11.56 pounds to claim a 4th Place finish. Claiming the 5th and final payout place was Team” Baney”. The husband and wife team weighed their best 3 fish for the day tipping the scales at 11.46 pounds.
When the tournament scales were closed the pleasantly large crowd was given extra time to purchase raffle tickets for various items donated by friends, family, local businesses and participating anglers. A special thanks to Nathan Stroup from The BASS Club, Lakeside Boat Repair, Montgomery County Auto Glass, Ambry Genetics, Beehives and Bowties, Castaway Rods, Robin & Bubba Stokely and all other individuals who donated to this cause.
After the ticket sales died down the raffle was conducted by Matt Russell who put a little excitement in the process with 6 unmarked envelopes containing cash amounts ranging from $100 to $5. It was a lot of fun watching the winning ticket holder select an envelope and reveal what was inside. I would like to note that there was a total of $235 in those envelopes and I believe all of it was donated back to Kali. Immediately after the raffle was completed some silent auction items were awarded along with some live auction items. On some of the live auction items the winning bidder donated the money and then requested to re-auction the item to raise additional funds for the family.
When the excitement died down from the auction the Top-5 teams were presented with their share of the $2,280 payout. Prior to awarding the payouts Matt emotionally announced that the event along with raffle ticket sales, silent auction and live auction had raised $5,270.00 for Kali. Then upon presenting the Top-5 team payouts we were shocked when a majority of the teams donated most if not all their winnings back to the family, of which the $5,270.00 did not include what the anglers donated back.
As director of the Southeast Region of the Texas B.A.S.S. Nation I want to applaud The BASS Club for sponsoring the event for this young lady. I would like to also thank some members of the Southeast Region staff and members of the Seven Coves Bass Club for their assistance and participation in this event.