Spring Bay Small Mouth Bass Derby raises Starlight funds for local families

The organizers of the annual Ride Manitoulin event presented a cheque in the amount of $3,500 to a representative of the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, as part of the Lake Kagawong Smallmouth Bass Derby this past weekend. In photo, left to right, is Ann Noble, Anna Orford, president of Ride Manitoulin, Randy Bowerman, Bria D’Amours of the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, Bill Blackwell and Louise Blackwell.

by Betty Bardswich

SPRING BAY—Sixty-one teams entered the Spring Bay 27th Annual Small Mouth Bass Derby this year despite the wet and windy weather. This is about the same number that entered last year and, by all accounts, the fish were biting hard. The derby is in memory of Steven Shank Vincent and was started by Herbie Colette, Bud Weadick and Lewis Hartley.

Garnet Pearson, of Spring Bay, and his son Dave, of Lively, have entered this tournament for 10 years and the weather didn’t stop them from bringing in a large number of bass.

“We were culling by early morning,” Dave told The Expositor. “We figure we caught over 50 fish and we went through a lot of bait. We like this tournament as the camaraderie is good, the derby shows that the fishery is healthy, the tournament is well run and it’s all because of the hard work of the volunteers. It’s for charity, there is a little bit of bragging rights and a lot of fun. It keeps you coming back.”

All proceeds from the derby go to the Starlight Foundation and organizer Linda Taylor told the entrants that last year a badly-needed ramp was installed for a Gore Bay resident with cerebral palsy and an entertainment unit, valued at $7,500, was installed at Health Sciences North for children admitted to the hospital. The unit consists of a flat screen TV, a Nintendo Wii and a DVD player. This year, so far, a $500 cheque will be given to a young girl in Mindemoya who is very ill and has spent three months in an Ottawa hospital. Ms. Taylor was grateful for all the support and help by the organizers and was especially grateful to Ride Manitoulin who donated $3,500 to Starlight. As well, most of the winners donated their prize money back to the organization. And every year, sales of tickets for a quilt, made by Rollanda Tovey, raise more money for this good cause. This year’s winner was Mackenzie Kada of Sombra.

The fund development coordinator for Starlight, Bria D’Amours of Toronto, was on hand for the derby celebration and is grateful to all the organizers and all the entrants in this year’s derby. “It is extremely important to have this kind of support because we aren’t supported by the government. We rely solely on third party corporations and individual sponsors.”

First prize in the derby went to Pat and Brent Leveille with a weight of 25.85 pounds, second prize to John Kada and Brad Leveille at 22.40 pounds and Dave and Garnet Pearson third with 19.56 pounds.

Brent Leveille won the Joshua Montgomery trophy for largest bass, and Derek Stephens took the John Wright trophy for largest perch as well as the Bob Haskett trophy for the largest fish other than bass caught by a male. There were no takers for the largest fish other than bass caught by a female. The Nora Weadick trophy for the mystery weight was won by John and Liesje Laurengen. The mystery weight was 12.69 pounds and theirs was 12.68. Kohan Campbell won the Art Breathart award for the largest three perch caught by a youth.

Ms. Taylor and her daughter Diane St. Pierre of Espanola are the go to wish granters for the Starlight Foundation for Manitoulin and the North Shore. For more information, call 705-282-2273 or 705-869-7512.