First ALA Event to Honor and Benefit Wounded Soldiers Returning from War
The American Lady Anglers (ALA) is holding its first event on Saturday, July 3, 2010 at Lake Fork Marina and Motel. Originally called The Friends and Family Firecracker Fish-Off, the event is in its second year. The all-day series of events starts at 6 am and will consist of several separate functions, with everyone welcome to participate. ALA Founder Rod Baker and his wife, Dr. Terri Elkins enjoy throwing parties and have always had an Independence Day Event to honor and benefit some military charity. Baker himself volunteered for over ten years in the Air Force during the Viet Nam War era, and both feel strongly that Americans should celebrate the Independence Day Holiday by honoring American military veterans, both past and present.
Last year was the first time they added a fishing tournament to their annual celebration. Rod has over 20 years experience organizing Fishing Tournaments that managed to pay both its anglers and its charity, so it seemed natural to include a charity fishing tournament as part of the festivities. This year, they are going to try out all of their new ALA equipment, including the new ALA Tournament Trailer. That way, they can make sure to work out any kinks before the huge Inaugural ALA Event scheduled for September 22-25, 2010. The Firecracker Fish-Off kicks off at 6:00 am and is a $50 per person team fishing tournament. There will be an optional $5 Big Bass Pot. Everyone is encouraged to participate, even the kids. “We had several children fish in the event last year, either with their grandparents or their parents,” said Baker, “and they really had fun. Part of the ALA mission is to get families to fish together. One of the big reasons we continue to call this event the “Friends and Family Firecracker Fish-Off” is so that people will know that it is for everyone. Both men and women serve in our armed services, and this gives everyone the chance to honor our soldiers.”
From early registration and feedback, the number of interested boaters, both men and women, has been huge. “We are especially pleased with the large number of people who have indicated that they are going to fish in the tournament,” commented Baker. “Large entry numbers generate both better payoffs for the anglers and a larger contribution for our charity. It’s a Win-Win situation for everyone concerned.”
Last year, the proceeds from auctioning donated items went to the chosen military charity. This year the ALA is donating $5 of each $50 entry to ReturningHeroesHome.org. Located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Returning Heroes Home has completed Phase I of its Wounded Warriors Home, in which it built a 12,500 square foot facility to house soldiers who with injuries sustained from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This facility allows the soldiers and their families to stay together in a homey atmosphere, complete with kitchen, family and game rooms, with computers and video games for their use. Phase II of the project includes an outdoor physical therapy area and garden, specially designed to be accessible to those utilizing wheelchairs, crutches, or new prostheses. The Firecracker Fish-Off donations will go towards this Phase II project.
Following the morning tournament, there will be activities throughout the day for everyone to enjoy. After viewing the Awards Ceremony for the fish-off, people can view a Motorcycle Show and a Classic Car Show, or listen to music while visiting the various booths with Sponsor and vendor products, or snacks like Bar-B-Cue and Snow Cones. The Mavericks, an elite motorcycle club, is having a “People’s Choice” Award to raise additional contributions for the charity. In “People’s Choice” events, each motorcycle is put on display with a bucket to hold the “votes”. People vote by putting money in the bucket of their favorite motorcycles. Since 100% of the proceeds from the motorcycle event are going directly to the military charity, fans are encouraged to vote for all of their favorites. Any contribution is welcome, from spare change to large bills. When the votes are
tallied, the motorcycle with the most money in its bucket wins the “People’s Choice” contest and wins the “People’s Choice” plaque. A local Classic Car Club has expressed an interest in joining the activities, and has indicated a desire to have their own “People’s Choice” contest. They would like to do their part in adding to the proceeds going to the Returning Heroes Home, so there may also be a Classic Car Show display to enjoy.
With all of the vendor’s booths expected, there will be almost a Midway atmosphere along the lakefront. One of the vendors will be the ALA’s newest Sponsor, Denise Sustiata with her Reel Girls Fish merchandise. An avid angler herself, Denise decided to start her own line of clothing flattering to the female physique after trying (and failing) to find things that she would like to wear among the men’s fishing gear. In addition to Reel Girls’ boutique, there will be other specialty vendors interesting to the anglers, such as bait and tackle manufacturers. Local favorite, Moser’s Restaurant, famous for their pies, will have a booth selling their Bar-B-Cue Sandwiches. There will also be other goodies and snacks, along with fun things to see and do throughout the day.
Lake Fork locals and others who enjoyed last years’ version of the competition requested a return of the popular Golf Cart Decorating Event. They will be spending their time between the tournament and exhibits giving free reign to their imaginations while decorating their golf carts for the Contest and Parade. The last event included races deemed too NASCAR-like for the comfort of local gentry, so this year the event will re-emerge in a more sedate form. Although most of the golf carts had patriotic themes last year, there are no rules regarding theme or type of decorations, and organizers are encouraging originality. Judges will be awarding prizes for Best Decorated, Most Original, Most Patriotic, and other surprise categories. Lake Fork Marina and other local businesses are donating many of the prizes for the winners. Following the Awards Ceremony and Golf Cart Parade to the Fireworks Area, the Evening Fireworks Festivities will begin. The Event is free and open to the public, and all may participate in the Golf Cart Decorating Contest and stay to view the Fireworks. To increase viewer enjoyment, the organizers are setting off the fireworks to the accompaniment of music.
The rules and entry forms, along with information regarding both the Firecracker Fish-Off and other ALA News and Events is available by going to the website. If pre-registering, an angler can choose to pay using PayPal or Credit Card Online. They can even send in a check prior to the tournament if they print off their entry and mail it in. The on-site pre-registration on July 2 from 4-6 pm and July 3 from 5-6 am will be strictly cash. The payback will be 80%, after deducting the $5 donation, along with the cost of plaques for contest winners. The event last year drew 25 teams; this year over 100 teams are expected and have committed to attend. With those numbers, the paybacks will be terrific and potential participants are expressing excitement about the entire days’ events. Anyone who wants to include additional funds to the Firecracker Fish-Off donation for ReturningHeroesHome.org is welcome to do so. You don’t have to fish in the tournament to appreciate your military men and women and the contributions and sacrifices they have all made that allow all Americans the freedom to enjoy Independence Day. For more information go to www.AmericanLadyAnglers.com, or call Rod at (214) 686-8953.
About the ALA: The American Lady Anglers (ALA), founded by Rod Baker, husband and bass caddy of former WBT Pro Dr. Terri Elkins, and Lake Fork Fishing Guide Lee White, gives all women the opportunity to fish on an even playing field. Standard ALA events consist of both the Co/Pro Individual and Team Tournaments in which the full field of entrants compete for two days in each. Ladies may enjoy the fun and camaraderie the ALA provides while fishing in either one or both tournaments. ALA benefits include offering the highest paybacks possible for the lowest entry fees, along with increased media attention to promote both the anglers and their Sponsors.
The ALA also hosts specialty events, such as its season-opening Firecracker Fish-Off, an Independence Day Benefit Tournament honoring a specific military charity each year. Like other ALA specialty events, The Firecracker Fish-Off is not just for ladies; the entire family can fish. With the ALA, fishing is not only a family affair, it’s fun for everyone, the anglers, their families, their friends, and their fans. Sponsors Lake Fork Marina, Sure Life, and Reel Girls Fish share the ALA ideals and support their charitable and other service ventures.
If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview to discuss the ALA, please call Terri Elkins at (972) 977-6700, or Email Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First ALA Event to Honor and Benefit Wounded Soldiers Returning from War