Annual fishing tournament benefits Washington children’s hospitals

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Multiple teams across the Tri-Cities are gearing up to compete in the annual 3-man Walleye tournament Saturday morning.

The event, hosted by the Columbia River Walleye Anglers Association and Griggs and Tri-City Ace stores, kicks off bright and early at 6:30 a.m. on Clover Island.

Officials said the tournament first began in April 2019 but had to pause last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year. they wanted to do something that would allow them to give back to people in need while still having fun.

So the organizers decided to give a large portion of proceeds raised from the event to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, organizations that are near and dear to their hearts.

“My son was actually born at Sacred Heart hospital and had a heart issue 32 years ago,” said Charlie Grigg, the vice president of Grigg’s Department Store. “Everything turned out great but I’ve always had that connection with that hospital.”

Dennis Damon, the tournament director and mastermind behind the event, said this year’s tournament is especially important because “this one’s all for the kids.”

Their original financial goal was $10,000 dollars but Damon said they’ve already raised nearly $17,000. And the event hasn’t even begun.

“We’ve had a lot of small business support throughout the community for this event,” Damon said. “A lot of the anglers participated in this as well. A lot of the donations came from the guys that are fishing.”

One of the fishermen competing is Dan Graham, who raised over $5,000 dollars alone for the hospitals, something that Grigg said was “amazing.”

Officials added that this is the first time the local fishermen are competing for a cause but it’s something that they are hoping to do more of in the future.

“They like to go out and fish and they’ll pay their entry fee so this is all new to them,” Grigg said. “People of Tri-Cities are really giving and this just shows.”

Although the event starts in the morning, officials said it will last into the late afternoon with the weigh-in time at 3 p.m.

“After the weigh-in, we’re going to have an awards ceremony for all the anglers that were fished in the event,” Damon said.

The winner will receive a hefty chunk of cash. But for interested event-goers who want to participate without fishing, $1 dollar buckets will also be raffled off through the afternoon.

Organizers said you could win gift cards from local businesses and even a $400 Yeti cooler donated by Grigg’s.

“It’s open to the public, so anyone should come on down,” Damon said.

For more details on the event, click here.

For live updates and tournament results, click here.

For future tournaments and events, click here.

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