Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida is hosting its second annual offshore fishing tournament to raise money to help local families.
The second annual Offshore Rodeo & Reggae Party is June 6-7 at Port Sanibel Marina and the Lighthouse Waterfront Restaurant, located on the Fort Myers side of the Sanibel Causeway. Anglers will launch from Port Sanibel Marina at 6 a.m. Saturday hoping to hook the top prize and have their catch served up for dinner by the Lighthouse staff.
"It's unique to our area because it's offshore," said event coordinator Angela Katz, explaining that anglers will travel miles into the Gulf of Mexico. "You see a lot of backwater tournaments and you don't see a lot offshore."
Competitors, ranging from recreational to professional, will be catching 10 different deep-water species and weigh four of the fish to receive a total combined weight.
Registration is $250 per angler, which includes a guest to attend the dinner festivities.
Katz said organizers added a Kids Fishing Tournament on June 7 so children 12 and under could join in the fun. The kids event, open to the first 50 who preregister for $20, starts at 10 a.m. at Port Sanibel Marina with educational stations for aspiring anglers to learn techniques. A lunch and magic show with Ronald McDonald follows the kid's tournament at 11:30 a.m.
Both fishing tournaments will be happening simultaneously.
"They are happening at the same time so the little kids get to fish right there at the event location while the big kids are out on the deep waters," said Katz, who added that it's a chance for children not only to have fun, but to learn.
Participants in the tournament also enjoy silent and live auctions, live music, and an awards ceremony. Fucillo KIA of Cape Coral donated a 2014 Kia Soul to serve as the grand prize in a $100 per ticket drawing.
Katz said all of the money raised from the event, auction, and drawing stays locally in Southwest Florida.
"All of the proceeds benefit our local Ronald McDonald House Charities. It supports all of our programs," she said.
The organization has served more than 3,000 families in the region since 1996, with the Ronald McDonald House at HealthPark Medical Center, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile for underprivileged children, and numerous grants and scholarships released to the community.
When the new Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida opens in 2017, it will include a brand new Ronald McDonald Family Room that will extend its services to local families with children being treated at the facility.
Interested anglers should register soon because spaces are filling up fast. For more information on the event or to register, visit www.rmhcswfl.org.