Fishing tourney to support students


Buddy Adams, far left, fishes with Andrew Davis and volunteer Linda Joyner, seated, during the 2012 Down East Youth and Adult Bass Fishing Tournament.


Staff Writer

Friday, May 19, 2017

Twenty-five students between 8 and 15 years old from Williford Elementary School will be involved in a traditional local fishing tournament this weekend.

The 10th annual Down East Youth and Adult Bass Fishing Tournament will take place from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rocky Mount Reservoir. A pre-meeting dinner will take place at 6 p.m. tonight at the Country Inn & Suites hotel.

Event founder Rodney Birth, a former local star athlete and college football player, said the purpose of the fishing event is to raise funds to benefit the Williford Family Resource Center, which helps disadvantaged children attending Williford Elementary School.

“We do this to give kids going to Williford an opportunity to have book bags, school supplies and nourishment or food for them and their families,” Birth said. “We also look at this as a way to mentor these kids and teach them ways of communicating and encouraging them to do better in school.”

Currently, Birth said, 25 boaters are signed up to fish with the 25 students from Williford Elementary. However, he encourages anyone with a boat to sign up and be a part of the event. The entry fee is $110 per boat. 

He added there are several students who have never fished before and some more who have been involved in the event for years.

“We have 10 kids that have never fished before, and we have about 12 kids that have being fishing for the last eight years,” Birth said. “Some of the kids returning think they’re pros.”

There will be several cash and gift prize giveaways happening at the event. A $1,000 cash prize donated by Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant will be given to the first-place boater who catches the most pounds of fish. The top five student fishers will win a shopping spree at Bass Pro Shops in Cary, which also will provide lunch to the winners and their families. 

Birth said he appreciates all of the local sponsors who have pitched in to help make the annual event possible.

“I think it’s a milestone that we can continue to have an event like this,” Birth said. “I appreciate the support of the community, the school system, the enthusiasm of the kids and the teachers that spend their weekend to volunteer because people involved could be doing something different with their own families.”