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Lake life

Shriner’s event more than a crappie tournament !

The list of tournaments and competitive fishing events seems to grow every year. But occasionally, one comes along that is about more than just fishing or competing. Such is the case this coming April 2 on Lake D’Arbonne. The past two years, the Barak Shriners of Louisiana have been dealt a severe blow by the COVID situation. Their primary fund raiser, the popular Shriner’s Circus, had to be cancelled. The results is a serious lack of funds for helping kids in needs.

To make up some of that loss, there will be a crappie tournament held on the ‘Bone to raise funds. But not just any crappie tournament.

Josh Harris, a Shriner and local LDWF enforcement agent who grew up in Farmerville, came up with a unique tournament idea to help this unique organization. The Shriners will sponsor an hourly big crappie tournament. It’ll cover 12 hours of fishing with six hourly payouts for big crappie of the hour. As far as I know, it’s the first time anything like this has been held for crappie, at least within casting distance of north Louisiana.

There will also be a payout for overall big fish and heaviest five-fish stringer. It’s a singles tournament with a $100 per person entry fee. Weigh-ins will be at the D’Arbonne State Park under the watchful eye of tournament master Dale Taylor. We’ll have more on that later.

But here’s the deal now. To make this a success, the tournament and the Shriners need sponsors. Sponsor money will go directly to the Shriners. The entry fees from fishermen will all go back in payouts to the fishermen. But don’t be surprised if some of the winners don’t donate their winnings back to the Shriners. Fishermen are good folks like that, you know.

Josh Harris and his daughter at Shriner’s Hospital

“Right now, we just need to get sponsors,” said Harris. “Any business or individual can help sponsor and we’ll make sure they get plenty of recognition. Louisiana Plastics Converting Corporation has stepped up as our Presenting Sponsor. We need lots more, big and small.”

Harris has more than a passing interest in making this work that goes right to the core of why he is a Shriner.

“When I was younger, I had a leg issue that landed me in the Shriner’s Hospital,” he said. “Obviously I don’t remember a lot about it, but I know they helped me a lot. Then, when my daughter was born in 2014, she had bilateral clubfoot and ended up in two full leg casts when she was a week old. When it was all over, the Shriners took care of everything. It didn’t cost us a dime.”

See, I told you it was about more than fishing.

You can keep up with the latest on the group’s Facebook page:

Barak Shriners Crappie Tournament

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