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Bass tournament donates proceeds to Lee youth program

By Staff | Nov 16, 2008

Some kids played video games Saturday morning.

Some watched television.

A few might have even been getting into mischief–but not those involved with the Sheriff’s Youth Activities League, who were hard at work helping weigh and release fish caught during the second-annual Cape Coral Bass Club’s Catch and Release Bass Tournament.

The tournament, with an entry fee of $100 per boat, filled Lake Kennedy with 44 boats vying for the win from about 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Money raised from the tournament was donated to the SYAL, along with that collected for a raffle and 50/50 drawing Saturday.

“One of the things this program does is teaches teamwork,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Angelo Vaughn, executive director of SYAL. “The satisfaction I get is to see these kids out here doing a positive thing; it’s the satisfaction of just teaching.”

Vaughn, a 14-year officer with the LCSO, started the program in April 2007. Youths in the program are typically eight to 17 years old, and there are approximately 25 to 30 kids involved during a particular event. They participate in activities such as archery and basketball.

“It’s an excellent turnout,” Vaughn said of the fishing tournament.

Rob and Bonnie Mazza came to the event with their 12-year-old daughter Marisa, who got involved with SYAL after hearing about it through a classmate.

“The deputies are great,” Rob said. “They have a lot of patience with the kids.

“(Marisa) loves it. She’s never shot archery before.

Jessie Cowart, 11, got involved in the program with friends Josh, 11, and Brittany, 7.

“The biggest thing I like about it is they get a lot of discipline,” said Deb Cowart, Jessie’s mother. “He likes it very, very well.

Cowart said using the bow and arrow safely and correctly teaches youths to be responsible. The different levels in archery, she said, gives

hem goals to strive for.

“(Jessie’s) mission is to get a 41 (bowman),” she said.

The Cape Coral Bass Club was able to raise $2,500 to donate to SYAL, according to the club’s president, Jim Lewis.

“With the economy the way it is, it turned out better than we thought,” Lewis said. “We thank all our participants; I was happy to see they turned out at the last minute.

Winners of the tournament are as follows:

* 1st place went to Chris Petrey and Everett Rankin with a combined 12.11 pounds. Chris and Everett also won the “Big Bass” prize for a single fish at 5.76 pounds.

* 2nd place went to Mike Oler and Don Bee with a combined 8.76 pounds.

* 3rd place went to Wayne Oder and Tom Kesting with a combined 8.19 pounds.

* 4th place went to Robert Watkins and Danny Williams with a combined 7.66 pounds.

Those who sponsored the event include Cape Marine, Balfour Beatty, Bench Warmers and the City of Cape Coral.