ON SPORTS: Matagorda fishing tournament adds new twist to fight against cancer
June 2, 2013 at 1:02 a.m.
The bonds forged by fishing often last a lifetime and beyond.
Travis Elliott treasures the time he spent fishing with his grandparents while living in Bay City.
Friends and classmates Dirk Griffith and Shane Hahn enjoyed the same camaraderie.
"Those are some of our fondest memories," Elliott said.
Those experiences were cut short when all three lost a grandparent to cancer.
The three friends teamed up with Bay City's Cliff Roberts, Rick Reed and Eric Snyder to start the Texas Trio Classic - Fishin' for a Cure in 2008.
The tournament is named for Texas' three most prominent fish - the redfish, speckled trout and flounder - and raises money for the fight against cancer.
The tournament is entering its sixth year, and its growth has been beyond their wildest expectations.
The tournament drew 19 boats the first year and had 69 in last year's tournament.
Elliott has already received commitments from 41 boats for this year's tournament, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Matagorda Harbor Pavilion.
"You're talking about a year-round commitment," Elliott said. "For eight or nine months, it's a full go for the six directors.
"It's definitely challenging. In order for us to grow and get better, we have to continue changing or evolving with the trends of fishing."
The biggest change for this year's tournament will be the inclusion of a pair of free kids fishing clinics.
The clinics will be during Saturday's weigh-ins at 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. and are open to boys and girls between the ages of 3-10.
Participants will receive a certificate of completion and free snow cones and be entered to win prizes.
"We have all the equipment," Elliott said. "We're going to teach kids how to cast, tie lures, tie fishing knots and other basic fishing points."
The tournament will continue in its mission to raise money to fight cancer. Last year's tournament hit its goal of $25,000, and this year's goal is $30,000.
Elliott said the proceeds will go to the Matagorda Wellness Foundation and the Matagorda County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and he hopes to direct some money to the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
The tournament will begin with a Calcutta, raffle and silent auction Friday at the Matagorda Harbor Pavilion.
Boats will head out into Matagorda Bay on Saturday no earlier than 5:45 a.m., and the weigh-in is scheduled for 1-4 p.m.
Elliott, who has a 2-year-old son, hopes adding the kids fishing clinic will attract people who aren't directly taking part in the competition.
"The whole thing is to make this as family friendly as possible," he said. "It's never too early to teach a kid how to fish."
Elliott might add it's never too late to start the fight against cancer.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or email@example.com or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.