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Storm fails to wash out Mullet Toss Championship

By Staff | Mar 22, 2016

Rain didn’t dampen the spirit at the 25th annual Matlacha Mariners Mullet Toss Championship last Saturday but the early afternoon thunderstorm did.

“We’re here hoping the weather holds out,” coordinator Rick Williams said early in the day. “This is a fun day for everyone and this year we have the Lee County Sheriff’s ffice facing off against the Pine Island Matlacha Fire Department.”

There were five divisions based on age group: Fry Mullet Division Ages 1-5 boys and girls; Fingerling Mullet Division Ages 6-10 boys and girls; Juvenile Mullet Division Ages 11-15 boys and girls; Adult Mullet Division Ages 16-60 men and women; and Grey Mullet Division Ages 61+ men and women. Plaques were awarded to all of the division winners.

The contest couldn’t have been closer in the “grudge” match between the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department. After three throws by each of the three contestants for the Sheriff’s Office and three throws by the three contestants from the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department, the total distances from each set of three throws was added up. The Fire Department’s total was 308 feet. The Sheriff’s Office total was 309 feet making it the winner by only one foot.

By 1 p.m., heavy storms were coming in and around 1:30, more heavy rain with lightning. “Unfortunately, due to the lightning storm, we were forced to shut down early,” Williams said. It was just not safe and made it impossible to complete the restaurant competition or the adult divisions.

“Lisa Dence deserves a lot of the credit for pulling this together,” Williams said. “She contacted the vendors and Olde Fish House Marina provided hamburgers, hot dogs for the crowd. We couldn’t have pulled this off without Lisa.”

“This isn’t our biggest fundraiser,” Williams said. “But it is the most fun. The Mullet Toss Championship gets the island people involved and brings in a lot of people from surrounding communities. It’s really just a day where the community gets together, throws a party, and everyone has lots of fun.

The Matlacha Mariners Inc. is a community oriented 501c3 non profit corporation. The Mariners were officially incorporated on Feb. 15, 2002. The Mariners are a group of men who organized to help with some of the local needs of the Pine Island community that were not being met otherwise. The Mariners main focus to date has been to help Elementary School Students and specifically Pine Island Elementary Music Education Students.