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Doc Ford’s to co-sponsor eighth annual tarpon tournament

By Staff | Mar 13, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille is again title sponsor for the 2019 tournament.

A 100-percent purse and the new allure of winning a coveted tarpon jacket promise to make the eighth annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament on May 3 the hottest competition on the water.

Doc Ford’s has again committed to being the title sponsor for the 2019 tournament, along with the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. Proceeds will benefit wildlife and conservation education at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

The tournament pays out 100 percent of the entry fees, which could amount to $25,000 or more, as tournament awards to the top five teams. This year, 55 spots in the tournament were filled shortly after opening registration online last year. Interested parties can contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org. to add their names to a waiting list.

In 2017, Marty Harrity, co-owner of Doc Ford’s, added a new incentive for taking first place in the tournament. He introduced the exclusive “tarpon jacket,” a pink sports jacket swimming with tarpon.

“It’s kind of like the green Masters tournament jacket in golf,” Harrity said. “The winning captain gets the honor of wearing the pink ‘tarpon jacket.'”

“Doc Ford’s has been a faithful supporter of our efforts at ‘Ding’ Darling, helping greatly to bolster refuge programs and research to balance federal budget shortfalls,” Miller said. “Last year we raised $120,000 for the refuge as a result of sponsorships, donations, and auction proceeds. In its seven years of existence, the tourney has raised nearly $450,000. We’re so grateful to Doc Ford’s for this huge effort in our behalf.”

For more information, visit www.dingdarlingtarpontourney.org.

Those interested in becoming a tournament sponsor can contact Dot Vorhees at 239-472-1100 ext. 239 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.