250 join Roland Martin at the 2010 RedSnook tourney gala

Sandi Wilson, left,  traded some fishing wisdom with Naples resident, and TV fishing show host Roland Martin and his wife, Judy at the RedSnook Tourney kickoff. J. Mark Strong

Sandi Wilson, left, traded some fishing wisdom with Naples resident, and TV fishing show host Roland Martin and his wife, Judy at the RedSnook Tourney kickoff. J. Mark Strong

Miami Dolphins cheerleaders Jessica, left, and Tatiana flank Fitzgerald Grass, an obviously pleased attendee at the RedSnook Tourney Gala Oct. 1  to support the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Dennis Goodman

Miami Dolphins cheerleaders Jessica, left, and Tatiana flank Fitzgerald Grass, an obviously pleased attendee at the RedSnook Tourney Gala Oct. 1 to support the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Dennis Goodman

Andrew McElwaine, left, Conservancy CEO saluted Jim Lozelle and Gil LaCroix, who have been RedSnook Tournament chairs for the last four years. Dennis Goodman

Andrew McElwaine, left, Conservancy CEO saluted Jim Lozelle and Gil LaCroix, who have been RedSnook Tournament chairs for the last four years. Dennis Goodman

Conservancy Volunteer Manager JoAnn Johansen helped do a little cheerleading to bring participants into the RedSnook silent auction area.  Dennis Goodman

Conservancy Volunteer Manager JoAnn Johansen helped do a little cheerleading to bring participants into the RedSnook silent auction area. Dennis Goodman

More than 250 exuberant partygoers dropped anchor at the Naples Yacht Club Oct. 1, joining Naples resident Roland Martin, celebrity angler and TV host of the “Fishing with Roland Martin Show,” for several hours of camaraderie that kicked off two days of intense fishing competition to benefit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s water quality and estuary protection programs.

The celebration featured an Outback Steakhouse landlubbers buffet, a Yacht Club seafood feast, and beers and natural wines provided by Whole Foods. In support of the event were Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, blond Tatiana and brunette Jessica, both on hand to autograph squad photos; and Troy Drayton, retired Dolphins player who broadcasts the post-game season on WQAM 560 radio.

Event chairman Wayne Meland, with honorary chair Martin and Conservancy CEO Andrew McElwaine, welcomed the entire RedSnook Committee; fishing pairings, both male and female, senior and junior; guides; corporate sponsors; and Conservancy staff, volunteers and VIP supporters.

Roland Martin was paired with a longtime friend, Fred Kemp of St. Louis, who founded U.S. Reel. In attendance were Roland’s wife, Judy Martin, who’s a member of Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the only female with both husband and father members as well. Fishing fanatic Michelle Brown of Naples was teamed up with Sarah Zundel, another Naples residents, who incidentally competed against her dad, attorney Robert Zundel.

More family fishing paired Neapolitan Tom Bulloch and his son, Robert. Len Zaiser introduced his 15-year old son Oliver, a junior division competitor who went on to win top junior angler honors in the tourney last week.

Successful evening fundraisers included a Go Fish! raffle drawing in addition to Fund-A-Need and silent and live auctions. All were thanks to the acquisitive talents of Julie Kukk, auction chair, and the gavel action of auctioneer Scott Robertson, a fisherman himself, as his piscine-motif bow tie and waistcoat attested.

Major sponsors included Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, M&I Bank, Comcast and Naples Yacht Club. Net tourney proceeds, with some 40 teams participating, exceeded $75,000, according to Barbara Wilson, Conservancy director of marketing and communications.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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