By Jenn Marfio
Oceana County Farm Bureau’s inaugural fishing tournament Feb. 20 saw 35 teams hitting the ice on lakes across sunny western Michigan to compete for prizes sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance-Klotz Agency of Hart.
Almost 20 teams convened that afternoon at Hart Lake for the weigh-in that determined the winners in each category: heaviest pike and heaviest five panfish.
George Shriver of Trufant hauled in the biggest pike, a 10.15-pound fish that earned him the $250 price. In second place was Ludington’s Steve Meyers with a 7.7-pound catch that netted him $100 in cash.
In the panfish category, Eian and Blane Sawdy of Hart weighed in five crappie totaling 7.25 pounds for the $250 prize. Aric Miller of Scottville and Mark Malkowski of Freesoil brought 5.97 pounds of panfish to weigh-in and went home with $100.
After the weigh-in all the contestantsenjoyed a hot meal, learned a lot about the value of Farm Bureau membership, and some took home some raffle prizes.
Altogether the raffle brought in $235 in donations to benefit the local food pantry.
Members were allowed to enter at no cost and just $10 for non-members.
To that the county Farm Bureau board added $265 of the registration to round the donation up to an even $500, then used that amount in its application for the Agent Charitable Fund’s Double-Up Donation Program in hopes of double the pantry’s money.
The tournament was the brainchild of Oceana’s new Young Farmer chair, Lane Stotler.
“It was a great day enjoying one of Michigan’s favorite winter activities!” Stotler enthused when all was said and done. “Our contestants put a lot of fish on the ice and together we raised a lot of money for our local food banks. All in all that’s a pretty great day!”
Jenn Marfio is administrative manager for Oceana, Osceola and Mecosta County Farm Bureaus.