An upcoming fundraiser in Edna will give new meaning to the phrase “surf and turf.”
Fishing and bull riding are planned to help a veteran take a dream vacation and to help a first responder go fishing and cover his medical expenses.
Red, White and Bulls benefits the military veteran and first responder on March 30 in Edna. The teams competing in the saltwater fishing tournament can start as early as 12 a.m. Saturday with the weigh-in at 2 p.m. at the Brackenridge Main Event Center. The bull riding event, which features Professional Bull Riders Inc. bulls and riders, is also at the main event center and begins at 7 p.m.
The event benefits Army combat veteran Sgt. 1st Class Will Vidal, of Austin, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He led missions, helped train the Afghan National Army and worked with military dogs, said Alex Alvarez, an Army combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, a former deputy sheriff for DeWitt County and one of the event organizers. The proceeds will be used to send Vidal on a golfing trip to the Dominican Republic.
Fayette County Sheriff’s Deputy CJ Lehmann is a first responder being honored for his service. Lehmann survived a gunshot wound to the face last year while serving a warrant. The proceeds will pay for his entry in the fishing tournament and help cover his medical expenses. O-Fish-All Business in Victoria is donating fishing rods and other gear for Lehmann.
“We take care of our brothers and sisters,” Alvarez said. “We take care of our own.”
Alvarez and Javier Gonzales, who worked in law enforcement for the Port Lavaca Police Department for 13 years, are organizing the event. They both said they want to “give back and help fellow veterans and first responders who sacrifice so much, are so underpaid and have everyday problems like anyone else.” Both Alvarez and Gonzales currently work for Formosa Plastics Corp.
“In these professions, you’ve got to love what you do because you’re definitely not doing it for the money,” Alvarez said. “That’s why we want to do this; he (Vidal) cannot afford to take this once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and in CJ’s case, he’s struggling with medical bills, and we want to help him out.”
The bull riding event will feature some of the world’s top PBR bull riders and bulls, Alvarez said. Vendors will set up in the lobby, and the city of Edna will provide a hospitality room for the veterans and first responders who attend the show.
Employees of one of the sponsors, Lester Contracting, will play bull poker during intermission. A bull will be released in the arena, where the employees will sit in chairs around a plastic card table. The last person remaining in a chair will win money and a belt buckle.
“It’s really entertaining to watch and a lot of fun,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez has organized similar bull-riding events in past years and donated the proceeds to Warrior’s Weekend. This year, he and his partner are distributing the proceeds independently for the first time.
“We would love to help as many (veterans and first responders) as we can, but this is our first time on our own, so we chose one of each because we didn’t know how much money we would get,” Alvarez said. “We hope to grow (the event) in the future.”
Sponsors include Archer Oil Tools, Toyota of Victoria, Del Papa Distributing, Burnett Customs, the city of Edna, Trust Texas Bank, T3 Services, Lester Contracting, Aveda Transportation and Energy Services and Con Metal Contractors. Waterloo Rods is sponsoring the fishing tournament.