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Registration continues for Ryan McClesky Redfish Challenge

By Staff | May 19, 2015

Anglers can still sign up for this weekend’s fishing tourney to support local youth battling cancer.

The 11th Annual Ryan McCleskey Redfish Challenge will take place Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Marina at Cape Harbour. Proceeds will benefit Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund. The event will kick off with the captain’s meeting Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Pavilion at Cape Harbour.

Kristin McCleskey, event coordinator and the widow of Ryan McCleskey, explained that her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. The first tourney was organized by friends to help the family with bills. When McCleskey passed away the night before the second event at 26, they decided to keep it going.

“We wanted to be able to do something to give back to the hospital and back to the kids,” she said, adding that her husband’s cancer was a pediatric cancer so he spent a lot of time around them.

The entry fee is $250 per boat for four anglers, with each additional angler costing $50.

Participants can register at the captain’s meeting or online at: ryansredfishchallenge.com.

On Friday, check-in will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Organizers will go over the rules with the anglers, followed by a dinner – included in the entry fee – live music, raffles and an auction.

Fathoms Restaurant & Bar is catering, and the general public can eat for a $10 donation.

Kristin McCleskey explained that the silent auction will kick off Friday with items to include weekend getaways and roundtrip tickets, to specialty wine collections and more.

“The silent auction does not close until Saturday night at 6 p.m.,” she said.

Raffles, which will also continue to day two, include fishing gear, gift certificates, jewelry and such.

On Saturday, the tournament will begin at 7 a.m.

“It is an honor start,” McCleskey said. “People will fish from different marinas.”

The winner is based on the total combined weight of two redfish. First place will receive $1,500, second place will take home $750, third place will earn $500 and fourth place will win $250.

The live fish weigh-in will take place at 4 p.m.

“It is a catch and release,” she said. “All the boats have to be back in at 4 o’clock.”

Last year, 52 boats took part in the fishing tournament.

As of Tuesday, about 25 boats had registered.

“We get a lot of people waiting up until the last day,” McCleskey said. “We’re hoping to break the number from last year.”

The 2014 event raised more than $20,000.

“We have the same goal,” she said of this year’s aim.

Following the tourney, dinner will be served by Ceno Grill. The general public is again welcome to dine for a donation of $10 per person. From 2 to 7 p.m., artist Robb Brooks will perform live.

The awards will be presented, and the auction and raffles winners will be announced.

“We just encourage people to come out and have a good time,” McCleskey said.

“It’s a great event for a great cause,” she added.

When the new Golisano Children’s Hospital opens in early 2017, a room will be named after Ryan McCleskey. This year’s tournament will honor Chase Johnson, who passed away in March 2014.

For more information, call (239) 699-7426 or visit online at: ryansredfishchallenge.com.

The Marina at Cape Harbour is at 5828 Cape Harbour Drive.