Memorial fishing tourney returns May 18
Every year, an annual bass tournament honors the memory of a young Franklin County fisherman who passed away, while providing scholarships for the fishermen – and women – carrying on his legacy.
The 6th Annual Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship Bass Tournament is set for May 18 at Slick Rock Boat Ramp, Cedar Creek Lake. The tournament, which lasts from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., costs a $60 entry fee per boat, which benefits the Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Casey was 23 when he died suddenly in 2012. As fishing buddies mourned his passing, they came up with an idea to commemorate his life and his passion for the sport – the memorial fishing tourney.
“Casey was a member of the Belgreen Bass Club, and they were actually the ones who came to us and told us they wanted to have a tournament each year to honor Casey’s memory and to help fund the scholarship,” explained mother Lisa Stockton. “It meant the world to us when they told us they were going to do this. Casey would be very honored and humbled that they have this tournament every year in his memory.”
Casey’s bass club buddies were, Stockton said, “like a second family to him. He would come home on the nights they had their meetings and talk to us for hours about all that happened.”
Many of those buddies continue to support the tournament each year.
“It keeps him alive,” said Trent Richardson, who said his buddy would love the annual event in his memory. “I fish it every year because he was one of the closest friends I had. I have way too many memories of him to explain.”
Casey’s family had already established a scholarship fund in his honor upon his passing. Stockton said the family asked for scholarship donations in lieu of flowers “because we knew that the flowers would fade away but that a scholarship would be a way for us to keep Casey’s memory alive and to help a student pay for their college education.”
Linking the scholarship with the tournament became a perfect way to keep it connected to Casey’s memory in a special way.
The fund has granted more than $10,000 in scholarships to Russellville and Franklin County students. This year’s Franklin County recipients are Dakota Mansell and Trent Gonzalez, of Phil Campbell.
Of course, scholarship winners aren’t the only ones coming out of the tourney with a little money in their pockets. Prize money will be awarded as follows for this year’s tourney winners: first place, $750, second place, $450, third place, $250, fourth place, $150, and Lucky Seven, $100. Additionally, a number of door prizes will be given away.
Entry forms can be turned in at the ramp the morning of the tournament. For more information or to obtain an entry form, call Ronnie Wray at 256-627-8898 or Tim Stockton at 256-520-9959.
“The day of his tournament is always a very emotional day for us and for his friends and family,” Lisa Stockton said. “There are a lot of tears mixed with smiles and laughter as we all share stories of past fishing adventures of Casey and his friends.
“I think in a way it is therapy for all of us,” she added. “It does our hearts good to know that we are helping to make a difference in young peoples’ lives and that we are keeping Casey’s memory alive for years to come.”