17.5-pound and 8.5-pound fish win Walker's tourney

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"Excellent!"

That's how Capt. Erix Rodriguez referred to the just-completed 2nd annual Red Grouper Tournament at Walker's Hideaway Marina on Saturday. Rodriguez is the shipstore manager at Walker's.

"I think we had a great turnout -- 52 anglers on 15 boats," he said. "And almost everybody weighted fish."

* The winning fish weighed in at 17.5 pounds. It was brought-in by the Danny Leonard team in the 20-mile-plus division, meaning the anglers were more than 20-miles out in the Gulf when they caught the fish.

* The division for inside the 20-mile marker was won by a hefty 8.5-pound fish brought in by the Lockhart family, including Jack, Max and Lucas.

The marina awarded $1,000 each to the winners in the two categories.

The Lockharts, who reside in Indianapolis and on Marco, said each family member will get an equal share -- $200 each. The three young boys said they were happy with that decision.

Entry proceeds from the tourney went to The Joy of Giving, according to Brenda Kennedy, the director of marketing and Promotion for the Walker Marine Group.

"Joy of Giving is a local charity for Marco Island and nearby school children," said Kennedy during Saturday's tournament. "It's all-volunteer work; there are no paid employees and everything is donated, so every single cent goes back to these children."

Nicki Davis is the president of The Joy of Giving, an organization she founded 26-years ago. During the awards ceremony Saturday, Davis thanked everyone who participated for the help they provided in making this Christmas special for the needy children.

As she spoke, Davis had to choke back her tears, as she spoke of the importance of her organization.

Rodriguez nd Kennedy said a lady's division is likely to be part of the 3rd annual tournament at Walker's next year.

See more photos in the Thursday, July 16, print edition of the Sun Times.


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