Matagorda tournament continues to grow
May 21, 2014 at 12:21 a.m.
The tug on the line felt like a shot out of a cannon.
This fish meant business.
Back and forth we went for what seemed like hours under a searing sun.
Finally, my blood-scarred hands were able to reel in the catch.
The prize was well-worth the effort.
OK, forgive me for channeling my inner Hemingway.
You know how fish stories go.
A fisherman, I am not.
But there is one battle I am willing to wage with any means possible, and that's the fight against cancer and other deadly diseases.
I have witnessed cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia claim friends and family.
Travis Elliott and a number of his fishing buddies who grew up together in Bay City know the feeling all too well.
Elliott, Dirk Griffith, Shane Hahn, Nathan Lubbers, Rick Reed and Cliff Roberts have each lost relatives to cancer.
But the friends decided to fight back.
They began 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.
The purpose was to raise funds to fight cancer and has been broadened to include other serious diseases.
The inaugural tournament drew 19 boats and expanded to 90 boats in 2013.
Elliott is expecting 100 boats for this year's tournament, which will be June 6 and 7 at the Matagorda Harbor Pavilion.
The tournament has grown so much that it will be split into open (bait and artificial lures) and artificial classes (artificial lures) for the first time this year.
The tournament paid out $50,000 to last year's winners. But the real winners were the Matagorda Wellness Foundation and the Matagorda County chapter of the American Cancer Society, which received $40,000 in proceeds from the tournament.
The event has expanded over the years and now features a free kids' fishing clinic for those ages 3 to 10, along with the original Calcutta, which includes a raffle, a silent auction and entertainment from local artists.
The tournament has become a year-round project for its founders, who have not lost sight of their mission.
This year's tournament will be dedicated to 11 people who lost their lives to serious diseases.
"The people's lives we've touched," Elliott said. "That's what stands above all else. That's what touches people's hearts. That, in my mind, is what allows us to grow."
Elliott and his friends welcome anyone interested in fighting against these diseases to join them at the Matagorda Harbor.
They don't care if you're hoping to catch some fish or simply looking to catch a few rays.
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 atAdvoSports.com.