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Fishing tourney reels in big catfish

Staff writer

After a five-year hiatus, 26 teams participated Saturday in Craig White Fishing Tournament for the Needy.

“Participation had fallen below that when we were having it every June,” White’s sister-in-law, Myrna Wood said. “We had two-man teams this year from Florence, Valley Center, Kansas City, Wichita, and Texas, as well as from Peabody.”

White died in a freak accident while camping and fishing in August 2000 at Peabody Country club. He dropped a pistol he had used to shoot at a snake. It discharged and a bullet hit him. He was able to drive to a farmhouse but died before he could get medical help.

“Craig was a unique individual,” Wood said. “He would give anyone a hand or financial help if he had any money — no questions asked. After he died, a fund to help people down on their luck seemed like a good match.”

The tournament, sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion, was conducted annually for about 10 years.

“Attendance fell off a bit, and we decided to quit doing it,” Wood said. “But of course, the need was still there. We still got requests for financial assistance from people who just needed a boost like Craig would have given them. So this year we decided to try a five-year anniversary tournament.”

Each team paid $20 to participate. The Sons of the American Legion sold tickets for a drawing of donated prizes. Code Blue played for a free dance after a hamburger cookout at the Legion hall.

“All the money raised will go into the fund,” Wood said.

First place went to Cory Foth and Brad Shaw, who fished at a private watershed lease and caught three catfish with a total weight of 27.5 pounds.

Second place went to Mike Hurst and Rob Turner, who turned in 21.4 pounds of fish including the single largest catfish, 19.7 pounds. Hurst and Turner fished at the north end of Peabody Country Club.

Third place went to Caleb Van Curen and his mother, Shalom, who fished at Marion County Lake and came home with seven catfish weighing 13.6 pounds total.

Bob and Michelle Hartnagel of Florence caught the smallest catfish, weighing 0.88 of a pound.

A new prize, the Gabe Dimmitt Hard Luck Award, was presented to Josh Levering, whose dog got snagged on hook still in the mouth of a catfish being pulled to shore.

Cutest anglers were Aiden Hurst and Jameson Miles and their sisters, Ava Hurst and Sydney Miles. The boys and their sisters fished with their mothers at the low-water bridge on Old Mill Rd.

They brought in two catfish that together weighed 10.6 pounds.

“We caught one on a perch and one on a worm,” Jameson said. “We both had to reel them in. They are big!”

Money in the fund is distributed by the Sons of the Legionnaires.

Last modified June 18, 2015

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