BRACEVILLE, Ill. (May 4, 2015) - Each year Exelon's Fishing for a Cure charity bass tournament reels in more than just anglers competing for the top prize and bragging rights. The tournament raises a substantial amount of money and awareness for local charities. In its 14-year history, the tournament has now topped $400,000.
Saturday's tournament raised $47,700 which will be split between three local not-for-profit hospices - Grundy County Hospice, Joliet Area Community Hospice and Hospice of Kankakee County.
Eighty-two, two-person teams from around the Midwest competed in the tournament. Brian Belke of Minooka and Jim Rura of Morris took home first place and the $4,000 top prize. Their three fish total of 10.15 lbs. was best in the tournament field. Coming in second was the team of Dave Sanders and Pete Banach of Monee, Ill., whose catch for the day totaled 9.88 lbs. They fished on a sponsored team for the charity and donated their $2,500 prize. Taking home the third place trophy and $1,000 for their three fish total of 9.87 lbs., was Chuck Sabias and Rufus Eskew. Teams placing fourth though 10th place split the remaining $2,500 prize money. Steve Smith and Ed Withaeger won the Big Cat contest with a 7.84 lb. catfish. The winners for Big Bass, Mike Myers and Dave Adams, caught a 5.62 lb. bass.
"We were honored to be selected as one of the charities for this event," said Joliet Area Community Hospice board member Jim Galligan. Added Rachel Fruehling, Public Education Coordinator for Hospice of Kankakee Valley, "We are so grateful for Exelon's support and the quality of this event. Everyone has been so kind and helpful."
More than 70 young anglers from age two to 12 competed in their own fishing derby held at Godley Park District pond Saturday. Winners in the five and under category were Leah Martin, 5, of Morris (first place), Dylan Wyatt, 2 of Shorewood (second), and Shane Boyle, 4, of Morris.
James Wyatt, 7, of Shorewood, took home first place in the 6-8 category; his sister, Danielle, age 8, took second place. Third place went to Jaiden Scrugg, 8, of Park Forest. In the 9-12 category, the winners were Steven Hoffman, 12, of Godley (first place), Jace Shaw, 11, Coal City (second) and Ashley Chojnacki, 12, of Plainfield (third). Steven Hoffman, 12, of Godley, and Brody Alexander, 6, of Coal City, snared the biggest fish; while Chase Wadsworth, 8, of Godley, reeled in the smallest fish.
More than 40 volunteers including employees and family members from Braidwood Station and the Reed Custer High School Casting Comets staffed the event. Braidwood Station employees Brian Daniels and Steve Friddle served as weigh in officials. ESPN's Chauncey Niziol served as the tournament host.
All proceeds raised through tournament entry fees, raffles and sponsorships go to the recipient charities, which are selected annually by station employees. Organizations and businesses contributing to the cause included:
• Bailey Printing
• Basic-PSA, Inc.
• Belgio Catering
• Berkot's Super Foods
• Brieser Construction
• Chauncey's Great Outdoors
• Conestoga-Rovers & Associates
• D Construction
• Electric Motor & Contracting Company, Inc.
• Electrical Builders, Inc.
• Enercon Services, Inc.
• Erin Engineering
• Innovative Industrial Solutions
• McCauley Mechanical Construction, Inc.
• Monical's Pizza
• Principal Instruments, Inc.
• Rachke Piping & Mechanical, Inc.
• Ryan & Associates
• Sargent & Lundy, LLC
• SCI Corporation
• SET Environmental, Inc.
• Shur-Set Tackle
Braidwood Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station's two nuclear energy units can produce a total of more than 2,300 megawatts at full power - enough electricity to power more than 2 million typical homes.