Cool Front and More Tourneys

Aug 27, 2014

I try to remind myself not to spend too much time talking about the weather in this column, as I am not a meteorologist (witch doctor) and some folks won’t see the printed version of this article for another week.

The thing is though, as an outdoors-man, the only people that are as affected by the weather as much us are farmers, and maybe a bride-to-be on the precipice of her outdoor wedding!

Although it’s been so hot and humid you couldn’t smack a mosquito without making a splash, the holiday weekend is alleging to bring a nice cool front, which should carry with it a big migration of doves. Unfortunately for hunters, and more unfortunately for farmers who are “robbing Peter to pay Paul” as my buddy put it, there isn’t much of anything getting harvested, so finding a hunting spot will be tough. The fishing on the other hand should be getting a boost from the cooler nights, and it’s just in time for some big tournaments in our area.

Next Saturday, the 6th of September, marks the 4th Annual Ben Kruse Charity Crappie Tournament on Wappapello Lake in the southeastern Missouri Ozarks. It was three years ago when Bruce Christian told me about the tournament and invited me over, and I couldn’t make it due to prior obligations, so last year he was on me pretty hard about getting over there to see what they were doing. At the last minute Chippy and I decided to fish the tourney and I was blown away by the whole experience.

Justin Berry and Joe Rendon with a monster blue catfish from the Ohio/Mississippi River confluence area

Justin Berry and Joe Rendon with a monster blue catfish from the Ohio/Mississippi River confluence area

72 teams showed up to fish on a ridiculously hot day, and although I couldn’t seem to catch enough for a sandwich, a lot of guys brought in good fish. What was more impressive than the crowd, was the way the tournament was run. There was delicious food and cold drinks free for every angler, shirts and a small cooler stuffed with goodies as well, not to mention prizes that were so numerous some fishermen received more than one. The MC of the event was better than any I’ve ever heard, and rolled through the anglers at the weigh-in quickly and got on to giving away the big prizes that you had to buy a ticket for. The reason behind all this was a group of people that worked really hard to bring in a ton of sponsors for an amazing charity, and this year looks to be even bigger.

The charity started in late 1999 when a few people got together and had the idea of a golf tournament to benefit The V-Foundation. In their “rookie” year they intended to send all the money to the V-Foundation, but when a local sponsor asked if any of the money was being kept local, they decided to continue to support the V-Foundation but give the majority of the earnings away locally to families battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses in the form of “love offerings.” They will always be called The 18 Fore Life Foundation, but in 2004 they lost one of their original founders, Ben Kruse, in a tragic ATV accident. They then began hosting many other activities throughout the year to help continue to support their cause. They have grown from raising $6000 in their first year to giving away $150,000 in 2012, and very proudly gave away their millionth dollar in 2013!

The second biggest fundraising event that they host each year is The Ben Kruse 18 Fore Life Crappie Tournament, and after raising over $13,000 last year, they’re looking for 2014’s tournament to be even bigger and bring in more money to the completely non-profit charity. Even if you don’t fish, you can still show your support by showing up at the weigh-in and buying tickets for the various raffles. The weigh-in will start at 1pm at Sundowner Marina. For more information on fishing or sponsoring the tournament call Bruce Christian at 573-820-6111 or Dain Bess at 573-421-191.

September 6th also marks the annual Blockin’ on the River tournament in Caruthersville, Mo. This tournament has grown exponentially over the last few years and teams come from all over the region to float their homemade jugs down the Mississippi River in hopes of landing a stringer of big blue catfish. For more information on this tournament contact Grizzly Jig Company at 1-800-305-9866.