ALS Tournament Wrapup
Posted at: 06/06/2012 10:41 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Saturday's ALS Walleye Tournament was an early call for anglers, but an even earlier one for volunteers.
Jack Barash and Mariah Haedrich drove golf carts to transport competitors. It can get stressful, and every minute counts.
"It's insane, a lot of work," Barash said. "Whenever a boat comes in, we follow them to their trailer and give them a ride to their boat real quick."
Barash and Haedrich sometimes offer advice to folks not familiar with Island Lake.
"We tell them where the fish are biting, what to use, good luck, what bait to use," Haedrich said.
Rik Jordan has been volunteering at this tournament since year one. He says the boats and reels are fancier now, but the fishing strategy hasn't changed.
"Everybody is fishing the same places they were seventeen years ago," Jordan said.
Having known people who have suffered from ALS, Jordan is happy to see the event continue to thrive.
"I think the ALS tournament is a very fun way to get people together to fight something we all hate," Jordan said.
Tony DiVito and his partner caught 13 walleye, but every one was under the size limit. But for DiVito, the day itself was a blessing. After last year's tournament, he was in a motorcycle accident that nearly took his life.
"A year ago tomorrow they gave me last rites," he said. "If the biggest problem I have right now is putting 13 keepers in the boat, I consider myself pretty fortunate."
DiVito didn't have much luck on Saturday, but a couple of other guys did. Jason Schrupp and Josh Fankhanel took the top prize, and became the first ever three-time champions. But winning isn't their top goal.
"We just keep coming back to help raise money. Hopefully someday they'll find a cure," Schrupp said.
Until that happens, these folks will be here, fishing for hope.