Jerry’s “MDA” Kids & Bass Fishing

Helping out at the Fish For A Cure tournament

Helping out at the Fish For A Cure tournament

The weather had been so pretty during the second week of March that I had forgotten that winter time could still be upon us. As I turned on the weather channel to see what the weather report might bring for the next morning, chill bumps ran up & down my arms. The weatherman called for very cold temps, high winds with light rain most of the day. This would certainly make a tough day on the water for fishing as well as on the platform weigh-in stage.

While I was packing my small tote bag with goodies, I added my set of Frogg’s to the tote just in case the weather man was right for a change. I just could not believe what I was hearing, a cold front sweeping down south just in time for the weekend? I was really hoping for a nice warm sunny day which would help us draw more boats for the “Fish for a Cure” tournament that Wal-Mart was putting on. There had been a lot of folks preparing & working so hard for months getting this special project put together. After watching the ugly weather report, I sat back in my lazy boy chair for a few seconds so I could think about how I had gotten to this point and how important this was to both me & others. I had been asked a few months ago by a close friend, Johnny Moore of Bounty Hunters Bass Club if I could help him out while doing a great deed for Jerry’s Kids. As always, no arm twisting had to be done because I enjoy doing events like this. Johnny had asked if I could be the Tournament Director & Master of Ceremony for this event, which for me was even more fun to do. One thing for sure is that you don’t have to go fish in the cold rainy weather or make up any extra excuses for not catching any fish. Plus, while working the platform stage during weigh-in you can make fun of all the other guys/gals who didn’t catch any fish that day too! After a few minutes of sitting around, I made it to the bedroom were my wife told me that 2:00 am would come very early the next morning, which I agreed. My morning plan was to leave home around 2:30 am in order to drive a few hours south of Church Point to Boutte, La. This way I would make the morning blast off in time to delivery my morning safety speech to all the great bass fishing folks that would make up this great tournament that was aimed toward helping kids with MDA.

As the alarm clock went off, a new morning had just begun. It was now March the 18th and the morning of the 5th Annual Wal-Mart Bass Tournament for Jerry’s Kids & the MDA. As I rolled out of bed I realized that the wife was right again, that alarm did seem to go off mighty early. Once dressed and outside the house I was greeted by cold air with the tapping of rain drops on our carport, not a good sign at all. By the time I had drove 3 hours & was close to the launch area the rain had stopped, but the wind was blowing like crazy. Just the wind in itself would make a hard day of fishing in the rough open waterways of DesAllemands. The Wal-Mart Store in Boutte, La had set aside half of their parking lot for our stage, weigh-in area, & parking for the tournament boats. Thank goodness they had also set up areas for the Bounty Hunters Bass Club to put up tents for the kids to play and do casting games under just in case of the bad weather while the adults were fishing their little hearts out in the cold & rainy weather. Wal-Mart had also set up booths for food, snacks & drinks, which included lots of hot coffee for everyone who needed it. As I drove to the launching area, which was in DesAllemands, I was thinking just how many bass’ers would show up because of this cold, ugly weather? To my surprise the parking lot was full of boats being launched & many more waiting to launch and get their day started. After the blast off, the total count was 53 boats that showed up to fish the event, not bad for the tough conditions that the fishermen were facing. If you remember, the DesAllamends area was where the BASS Classic was won a few years back and many large sacks of bass were brought to the scales from this great area. During the morning hours we dodged a few rain showers while we got the stage ready for the weigh-in. The DesAllemands Vol. Fire Dept. also played a big role in the Wal-Mart “Fish for a Cure” Bass Tournament. This fine group of guys/gals helped with the filling of the fish tank trailer that we had so that all fish weighed in could be returned back to the water right after the tournament was over. Plus they had an all day “Boot Drive” in front of Wal-Mart which raised a huge amount of money for Jerry’s Kids. As with all fire trucks & flashing lights, they were the favorite with all the kids because they got to climb all over the fire trucks and take rides around the parking lot with the lights flashing & sirens blaring.

I’m not really sure who had the most fun at this tournament, the kids, the guys/gals who were fishing it or me. All groups seemed to have a fun time as we raised money for a great cause. We didn’t have a large number of bass brought to the scales due to the weather conditions as there were many zero’s on the bulletin board. But what was brought to this grand event was the huge opening of hearts & wallets to this community affair. It seemed that everyone wanted to help make this the biggest event ever, which I’m told it was. The Wal-Mart “Fish for a Cure” Bass Tournament raised over $4000.00 dollars while the hard working guys/gals of the DesAllemands Vol. Fire Dept. raised over $6000.00 dollars for Jerry’s Kids. There were many others who worked very hard in the background to make sure a few of us looked good during the all day event too. The employees of Wal-Mart who helped in the cold weather with the parking lot duties and food/coffee trailers, members of the Bounty Hunters Bass Club who helped with the set up of tents & the stage, Jim & Cindy Breaux (Jim did all the weigh-in duties while Cindy did the filming of the event for a future show for Chef K.D. who has a Baton Rouge sports show. Jim & Cindy are also Tracker/Nitro Team Mates of mine along with Johnny & JoAnn Moore.) Also big thanks to Alvin & Pattie Kent for the use of their motor home when the weather wasn’t on our side, {yes, when it’s windy with freezing rain, real men/women run for warm cover!}. JoAnn Moore & Pattie Kent for all the paperwork & running the tournament, plus for making me look very good when it was “show-time”! It’s true what they say, there’s always a great woman behind every good guy. It’s been proved many times over, trust me! I would also like to thank a couple of my sponsor’s who helped in this event too, Tracker Marine, BoatCity USA, and Mossy Oak Classic Fishing Line & Offshore Oilfield Services. There is never just one star or spoke in a wheel that causes an event to be great, but it takes many spokes to help make & keep the wheel running smooth. Just like the many fine people that it took to put together a fine tournament like this. Thanks everyone for all your heart felt help!

Most important was all the people who opened up their hearts & donated all they could in order to make this day so special for the kids of MDA. That’s what it is all about, the kids, our future of tomorrow! I know I have watched the yearly shows that Jerry Lewis has put on & all the work he does to raise money for the funding of special needs that these young kids need. It’s hard to image just how much work goes into putting an event like this on and all the team work it takes across the nation to make it go so smoothly. There are so many kids in this modern world today that doesn’t receive the attention or help that their little eyes are asking for. I hope that through some of these kids fishing events we might be able to help some of our kids and maybe give them something to dream & hope for in their lives, because without our youth, we have no future. It’s up to us to help and guide them along life’s rocky road. I’m sure glad that I had those special love ones who took the time to spent with me and guide me along the way. A lot of kids will never have what we had growing up, so we must try to help these kids by being good role models for them and helping whenever we can. I look forward till next March for the 6th Annual Wal-Mart “Fish for a Cure” tournament and making it even the biggest one yet! Since I was asked to do it all over again next year my answer was like always, with a “Yes”, with no arm twisting needed. So next year please mark your calendar in March for the 6th Annual Wal-Mart Bass Tournament for Jerry’s Kid’s & MDA. I will post the dates on the web site as they come available to me.

Whenever you can, please take a child fishing, you never know, it just might make you a “star” in their little eyes or it could be their first start in becoming a Pro! In either way, you have touched the heart & soul of a child & given them something no one else has and that my friend is “Time & Affection”!

Until next time, Fish hard & enjoy the great outdoors! May God bless you & keep you safe! Please remember our Troops; both overseas and home. It is because of them that we have this great “FREEDOM” of ours to fish and enjoy the great outdoors!

Ricky Ingram

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