November 10, 2006

Bass tournament reels in funds for Children’s Hospital

Featured Image

Fishermen Jeff Baker, left, and Craig Smith give some bass fishing pointers to Champ at this week’s fishing tournament to benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Photo by Tommy Lawson

Bass tournament reels in funds for Children’s Hospital

Billy Hinson, left, and Brad Bowen fish from the LifeFlight boat at the tournament.
Photo by Tommy Lawson

Billy Hinson, left, and Brad Bowen fish from the LifeFlight boat at the tournament.
Photo by Tommy Lawson

The inaugural Champ's Black Bag — Big Fish Charity Tournament was held Nov. 5 at Bulls Creek on Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin.

More than 220 fishing enthusiasts competed at the bass tournament, sponsored by Skeeter boats, Team Marine and Cunningham Pontiac, Buick, GMC Trucks.

The tournament benefits the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt's health improvement and prevention program.

The tournament was the brainchild of area businessmen and fishing enthusiasts Trey Bain, Jeff Baker, Billy Hinson, Jack Nichols and Craig Smith.

Children's Hospital will receive approximately $23,000 in proceeds from the tournament, according to Baker.

“The five of us decided to have a tournament to benefit the Children's Hospital and we hope to grow it every year. We have a love for the outdoors and for children and the Children's Hospital. Anything we can do to combine these things, we want to do,” Baker said.

The group, named “Team Vanderbilt,” competed in specially-designed bass boats donated by Skeeter.

The “Team Vanderbilt” boats are each wrapped entirely with the respective logos of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt LifeFlight, Vanderbilt Transplant and Vanderbilt Heart.

For the past three years, Skeeter has provided the Vanderbilt-wrapped boats, which Baker, who is a professional angler sponsored by Skeeter, calls “moving billboards for Vanderbilt.”

Charles Ross, M.D., director of Endovascular Surgery at VUMC, was one of the competitors in the tournament.

“Bass tournaments are great fun, and they have become very popular, especially since ESPN began such extensive coverage of the pro circuits,” Ross said. “The opportunity to combine competitive bass fishing with fund-raising for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital was just super.

“The tournament operations were simply excellent. Jeff Baker and the Vanderbilt Medical Center Bass Fishing Team are to be commended for a job well done. The fact that they were able to raise so much money and generate so much interest with a fall tournament is nothing short of impressive,” Ross added.

At day's end, angler Baker, fishing from the Children's Hospital boat, hooked the largest fish of the day, weighing in at 8 pounds.

Skeeter donated a boat valued at $22,000, which was awarded through a random drawing.

Other sponsors of the event were Flipper's Bait and Tackle, Fairvue Plantation, Murfreesboro Telecom, Pratt Industries, Ashley Hayes Masonry, W.R. Durham Lumber Co., Murfreesboro Outdoors, Anderson Marine, Earl Swenssen and Associates, Heritage Farms Dairy, Haynes Brothers Lumber Co., Ken Binkley Signs and Boat Wraps and Fidelity Offset.