“This will be our 28th year,” echoed Andy and Sheree Wess. Adding, “And, we are elated to say this will be the first year Zach Stewart and Travis Mills the new owners of Lakeside Motel, Cabins and Marina continue this outstanding tradition by hosting the event.” Steward was quick to comment on the organizational skills during the morning registration. “I’m overwhelmed with the smoothness of the combined registration and launching of competitors bass boats, directed by Maine’s Classic Bass Masters Club.”
Over 200 anglers and fans enjoyed the Free morning breakfast hosted by volunteers supporting Maine’s Special Olympics. Wondering how such a Free large breakfast menu was possible, Sheree Wess enlightened me, “We have a donations container along the food line. The generous donations from everyone attending offset our Free breakfast and Free lunch during the weigh-in.” Simply stated… Maine the way Life should be!
After a morning prayer, 91-Teams idled away from Lakeside Marina to the takeoff boat within Welch Bay. Teams left in numerical order, with a reminder to be back by 4:00 p.m. for the weigh-in with an 8-bass limit per team. In no time the flotilla of bass boats were scattered throughout Lake Cobbosseecontee’s 4,950 acres of pristine bass waters. Bassmaster Magazine has listed Lake Cobbosseecontee as one of America’s Top-100 Bass lakes, due to its large population of largemouth and smallmouth bass.
While, anglers chased Cobbossee Lake’s black bass, volunteers for the Special Olympics Maine event worked diligently cleaning up from breakfast, setting up for the weigh-in menu, listing teams on the Leaders Board, arranging both monetary payout checks and team prizes, as well as organizing all of the sponsor products donated as door prizes and raffle gifts.
When the 4:00 p.m. check-in alarm sounded every team had passed the check-in boat without any late-time penalties. Classic Bass Master’s Weigh-Master Dave Barnes called the first 15 boats to the scales. Quickly, the leaders board registered each team’s total fish, total weight and the number of smallmouth/largemouth bass caught. With Lunker awards and monetary payouts for the largest Smallmouth and Largemouth teams were anxious to know the weights in each category.
The comradely, fun and laughter shared within a friendly competitive atmosphere, echoed the true sportsmanship of everyone attending. The excitement of adult Special Olympians sharing their stories, while cheering for every bass brought to the scales, foretold the true meaning of why Special Olympics Maine has been so successful for over 28 years running.
The 28th Annual Special Olympics Maine team tournament, also witness two outstanding Special Olympian Anglers competing on separate teams. Maine Angler Bobby Williams invited his Special Olympian friend Kris to be his partner, while Massachusetts Special Olympian Liam and his dad competed together. Both teams received loud applauds as they brought their bass to the scales. (Both Special Olympians received Sportsmanship Awards during the payout ceremonies.)
When the final team weighed-in Weigh-Master Barnes called the scales officially closed. Anglers and fans found the tasty hamburgers and hot dogs quite delicious, as once again the Special Olympic Volunteer Cooks made certain everyone was fed and enjoyed their selves.
As the tournament committee tallied all of the winning weights and arranged prizes in numerical order, it was time for the Door Prizes and Raffle winning cards to be drawn. As one angler stated, “It never ceases to amaze me, how this tournament always seems to make certain just about everyone attending receives a prize!” No doubt this statement demonstrated the overwhelming compassion and generosity displayed by all of the tournaments sponsors!
Andy Wess informed everyone attending the weigh-in, “100% payback goes to the Special Olympics Maine and 100% goes to the contestants! $25.00 of every entry fee goes to Special Olympics Maine and $100.00 of every entry goes to the contestants!” Plus, anglers and teams received tackle packages, rods, reels rod/reel combinations, batteries, marine accessories, WileyX Sunglasses, Garmin Sonars, gift certificates and so much more. Including two-Old Town Kayaks.
Total cash payout to the winning teams was $9,100.00, plus an assortment of prizes. Winning Teams for the 28th Annual Special Olympic Maine Benefit Team Tournament are as follows:
Lunker largemouth- Lodge and Grover- 6.4
Lunker smallmouth- Grube and Baer- 3.94
1st place-Carter and Kane- 32.47
2rd place- Mike Carol and Wilson Rutherford- 30.37
3rd place-Scott Harris and Steve Harris- 29.06
4th place- Charles Towns and Dennis Carrie- 28.21
5th place-Dave Mcnary and Seth McNary- 27.48
6th place-Mike Ball and Jin Wadsworth-25.29
7th place-Dave Barnes and Bill Centre-24.99
8th place-Mendel and Reiss-24.79
9th place-Hatch and Kervin -24.64
10th place-Kelley and Ludeux-24.59
11th place-Eric Johnson and Ryan Kempton-24.32
12th place-Herb Meyer and Roger Laflamme- 24.14
13th place- Scott Hinds and Aaron Watson-24.0
14th place- Bayard Lohmiller and Jake Faneuf- 23.21
However, the true winners of Special Olympics Maine Benefit Team Bass Tournament are indeed all of the Maine Special Olympians. Upon receiving a check for $20,523.80 President & CEO of Special Olympics Maine Phillip Geelhoed replied, “On behalf of all of us at Special Olympics Maine, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for your continued support. With your help, we will be able to continue to offer more than 4,300 children and adults with intellectual disabilities a change to get off the sidelines and into the game!”
Remember, “Just Have Fun”
Billy ‘Hawkeye’ Decoteau
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