Lakecaster Online

Everyone wins at the 10th Annual Tracy Byrd Big Bass Tournament
By Patty Lenderman

Tracy Byrd held his 10th Annual Big Bass tournament on April 2nd on Lake Sam Rayburn. There were 723 winners, plus all of the volunteers, staff, and most importantly the Children's Miracle Network. This is the kind of event where everybody wins, whether you weighed in a fish or not. Through the years, nearly a half a million dollars has been raised benefitting the CMN.

The bass tournament is designed in an hourly weigh in format, and the top five weights get a check each hour. It's kind of like playing poker in a tournament like this. You've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to weigh 'em. When the day is concluded, the top three anglers weighing in the big bass of the day are awarded the top prize packages.

The day started out cool and windy, making the lake choppy. As the hours progressed, the wind laid down, the lake smoothed out and the temperatures rose into the 70's with blue bird skies for a beautiful day to be out. Tracy was also able to get out there with the anglers and get a hook wet. The weigh in was held at Twin Dikes Park, and Rayburn Country supplied golf carts, Wulf Outdoors supplied the Mule to bring the anglers and their fish to the scales.

"The public response has been incredible" Tracy said. "To make this a success, it takes all of us - the volunteers, participants and the sponsors. It wouldn't work without each and every one, and I appreciate everyone's support more than anyone can know. I see several anglers who's fished every year, and also a lot of new faces. I'd also like to thank the workers and volunteers who work so hard to make this happen. We've got the same group of ladies who have helped for the past 10 years, and I don't know why they keep coming back - we just work them to death! Also I'd like to thank our sponsors. It takes a lot of money to put an event like this on, and they cover the costs so that more money can go directly to the Children's Miracle Network. Other worthy organizations has been benefactors in the past, but this is the only organization that I know of that the money raised on a local level stays here to help the people in East Texas."

CMT brought their trailer and gave free tours of it, as well as free souvenir pictures. They also had trivia and other games for the crowd to enjoy with prizes. Dave and Tricia Concienne and their crew handled the weigh in. Dave thanked all the anglers "We had 100% live release back into the lake. All of the anglers took good care of their catch, and after they were weighed they were all put in a treated tank after they were weighed. They all were released live back into Sam Rayburn."

Top 3 Winners:
1st - 8.64 lbs Jonathan Simon 2005 Ranger 519 VX w/200 EFI Mercury Motor ($32,000)
2nd - 8.53 lbs Mike Laramore 2005 Ford F150 STX Supercab Pickup ($22,750)
3rd - 8.17 lbs Ken Barrington Honda ATV ($5,000)

Hourly Winners:
7-8:00 hour:
1st 8.64 Jonathan Simon
2nd 7.37 Roger Nash
3rd 6.80 Rhonel Burnett
4th 6.56 Vernon Lyons
5th 6.14 Brian Carpenter

8-9:00 hour:
1st 7.75 Ronnie Fuller
2nd 6.63 Bill Reicler
3rd 6.07 Steve Johnston
4th 6.00 Marvin Phillips
5th 5.86 Perry Malone

9-10:00 hour:
1st 7.47 Roger Nash
2nd 6.88 Kevin Wing
3rd 6.80 Ray Thompson
4th 6.38 Melvin Henslee
5th 6.03 Benny Springs

10-11:00 hour:
1st 8.53 Mike Laramore
2nd 6.68 Jackie Glidewell
3rd 6.09 C.M. Patterson
4th 5.84 Matt Ogrodowicz
5th 5.63 H.A. Scales

11-12:00 hour:
1st 5.68 Lloyd Smith
2nd 5.46 Stanton Marsh
3rd 5.25 Dane Thibodeaux
4th 5.17 Johnny Jones
5th 5.05 Kenneth Davis

12-1:00 hour:
1st 8.15 David Ozio
2nd 7.64 Stephen Domangue
3rd 6.35 Dennis Massey
4th 5.19 Clint Teutsch
5th 4.94 Jack Carroll

1-2:00 hour:
1st 8.17 Ken Barrington
2nd 7.89 H.A. Scales
3rd 7.39 Clark Reehm
4th 7.31 Corey Chesser
5th 6.22 Robert Austin

Gary Smith, Texas Bass Federation Youth Director and Casting Kids Coordinator came to hold a flipping contest for the kids. The top winners in each region advance to state and national competitions. For more information call (281) 824-9690.
Winners for the 7-10 year old category
1st Jaycob Blasek Alvin, TX
2nd Zachary Bryan Colmesneil, TX
Winners for the 11-14 year old category:
1st Maddie Smith Vidor, TX
2nd Matt Drahem Nacogdoches, TX

7 year old Catherine Escagne, poster child and Texas representative for CMN was there with her family, happy and excited while she watched the tournament and participated in the flipping contest. She is a prime living example of what the CMN and the hyperbarack chambers do. When Catherine was only 3 years old, she was in a severe auto accident that left her in a coma for 3 months. She was blinded, could not walk or talk. Part of her brain had to be removed due to the injuries. She was virtually a vegetable. Today, with the help of CMN she can see, walk, talk - even dance. Catherine is a joyous child and a living miracle.

Immediately following the tournament, Tracy put on a free concert. "This is my way of saying 'thanks'. It is the people of East Texas who supported me while I was trying to make it. God blessed me with a talent, and I want to continue to help others with it. I love to fish, and this tournament just ties everything together" - Tracy Byrd.

It happens every day. Children are struck down by sickness or injury. It may begin with a seemingly small cough, an accidental injury, or a little temperature. Whatever the cause, the hospitals associated with Children's Miracle Network are there, in your community, prepared to help. Although CMN is an international organization, 100% of the local monies raised through donations and charitable contributions stay right here to benefit Christus St. Mary, Christus, St. Elizabeth and Christus Jasper Memorial Hospitals. CMN is dedicated to purchasing equipment for pediatric needs, programs for young patients, grants for those needing specialized care, research programs, and health education. For more information about Children's Miracle Network of Southeast Texas, please call (409) 983-5065,
Very special thanks to all of the tournament sponsors: Coushatta Casino Resort; The Beaumont Enterprise, Ranger Boats, Mercury Motors, Garmin, MinnKota, Philpott Ford, Cowboy Honda, Christus Health SE Texas, Texas State Bank, Justin Boots, Wrangler Jeans, Mossy Oak, KTXJ 102.7 FM, and Castaway Rods

Jonathon Simon weighed in the biggest bass of the event in the 1st hour at 8.64 lbs

The 2nd place 8.53 lb big bass of the event was weighed in by Mike Laramore. He drove home a 2005 Ford pickup worth $22,750
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Ken Barrington brough in the 8.17 lb 3rd overall big bass, winning a brand new Cowboy Honda

Tracy Byrd presented Jonathon Simon with the Grand Prize Ranger / Mercury Boat valued at $32,000

Gary Smith, Texas Bass Federation Youth Director and Casting Kids Coordinator helped CMN poster child Catherine Escagne in the flipping contest

The winners of the Casting Kids competition: (7-11 yrs) 1st-Jaycob Plasek; 2nd-Zachary Bryan - (11-14 yrs) 1st-Maddie Smith; 2nd Matt Drahem

The joy of the event shows in Tracy's smile as he put on the free concert afterward

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