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Tournament raises $24K for March of Dimes
Weather can't dampen anglers' spirits
Fish Tourney 7 es1
Hawkins Milford, 9, takes a break from trying to catch a fish in a bucket of water to survey the crowd gathering Saturday afternoon for the weigh-in of American Proteins' annual bass tournament at Little Hall Park. Behind him boats continue to pull in for the event, which benefited the March of Dimes.


Top winners in the American Proteins 12th annual bass tournament:

* First place: Nick Larson/Shawn Smith, 19.98 pounds

* Second place: Rob Rice/Karl Pingry, 19.80 pounds

* Third place: Justin Beaty/Douglas Ferguson, 18.48 pounds

"Big Fish" Awards

* First place: Steven Woody/Kyle Woody, 6.19 pounds

* Second place: Thomas Morgan/Luther Morgan, 5.62 pounds

Rainy weather didn't dampen the spirits of fishermen Saturday during American Proteins' annual bass tournament for the March of Dimes.

Natalie Gunter of American Proteins said despite showers, which she and other organizers had feared might hurt participation, the tournament ended up being one of the most successful in the event's 12-year history.

"It rained on us pretty much all day, but we still had 123 boats," she said. "We did good. That [number] really surprised us with the weather."

The tournament brought in more than $24,000 for the charitable organization, which promotes the birth of healthy babies.

"I think a couple of years, we might have brought in a little more than that," Gunter said. "But this was definitely one of the better years."

A portion of the funds raised included money from raffle ticket and food sales. Gunter said raffle prizes included tackle boxes and rod and reel combinations, the most of expensive of which was valued at more than $600.

Raffle ticket sales brought in some $3,500.

Organizers also sold hamburgers and hot dogs to fishermen and their families at weigh-in.

"We brought in over $400 just in our food sales," Gunter said.

The top three finishers in the tournament each brought in catches of nearly 20 pounds.

Prize money, ranging from $2,000 to $100, was awarded to the top 10 finishers.

Two "big fish" awards were also presented for the two single largest fish. The biggest weighed in at 6.19 pounds, followed by 5.62 pounds.

In addition to participating fishermen and volunteers, Gunter also thanked other businesses who contributed to the event.

"Hammond's Fishing Center, Timberghost and Deep South Rods helped make our tournament a big success," she said.