Boaters are invited to participate in the sixth annual Down East Inner City Youth and Adult Bass Fishing Tournament, a charity event that will take place Sept. 6 and 7.
The event supports the Williford Family Resource Center, which seeks to provide education and support to help strengthen families in the Williford community.
Last year, more than 60 children and adult boaters competed in the tournament for cash prizes and awards. Tournament Founder Rodney Birth said he and co-founder Geno McCree are hoping for a bigger turnout this year.
They are seeking more boaters to register for the event.
Birth asked that people register by Saturday. However, people who miss that deadline still can register on Sept. 6 or 7.
Each year, students from Williford Elementary School are paired with adult boaters for the tournament. To participate, the students must keep their grades up and stay out of trouble.
The tournament gives the students an opportunity to fish while being mentored by an adult, Birth said.
“In order for me to do what I do, somebody taught me,” Birth said. “If I can reach out to one kid and they can be successful, I feel that I’ve accomplished something.”
Organizers try to match returning students with the same boater they were paired with the year before, which allows them to build a relationship.
The event will kick off with a pre-tournament meeting from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Gateway Convention Centre, which will include a free dinner for participating boaters and youth. Participating boaters can bring their boats to the pre-tournament event for a free safety inspection.
The tournament will take place Sept. 7 at the Rocky Mount Reservoir at Bend of the River Road.
It will start at 6 a.m., and weigh in will be at 2:30 p.m. Birth encouraged people to come out for the weigh-in to cheer on the boaters and the kids.
Birth said they look forward to the kids participating every year.
He said the tournament is not only open to Williford students. “We’re trying to draw other boaters who may have kids who would like to participate and support the cause,” he said.
Boaters who have children between the ages of 8 and 15 who would like to participate are welcome to sign up. Boaters without children who would like to be paired with a local youth also are invited to participate.
The entry fee is $80 per boat.
More than 50 sponsors and a number of volunteers have donated their time and resources for the event. Hotel accommodations are available for $69 a night at the Comfort Inn by Choice in Rocky Mount.
For more information or to register, call Birth at 919-548-6300.