12th Annual Sandy Ridge Bream Tourney big success
May 18, 2001
For the 12th year in a row the Sandy Ridge Bream Tournament was held with beautiful weather. Although the rain did come later in the day, the tourney was already over and the results were in the record books for yet another successful day of fishing at Frank and Evelyn Tillman's pond south of Meridian.
Once again there were a lot of bream caught, as well as some really huge ones. Nine-year-old Nicholas Young landed the biggest fish of the day, a 1 pound 4 ounce Chinquapin. Seven-year-old Jackie Giles caught the most fish of the day. She caught a whopping 106 bream, while winning the 6-10 year old division. This was Jackie's third win in as many tries.
Taking the big fish in the pre-school division was Heather Harwell with an 11 1/2 ounce bream. First place in the pre-school division went to David Todd with 17 fish weighed in. Second place went to Timothy Boles with 11 fish. Third place was claimed by Jacob White. Fourth place went to Rob Bible.
Coming in second behind Giles in the 6-10 year old division was Chris Thompson with a strong string numbering 72 bream. Third place went to another repeat winner, Kaleb Smith with 56 bream. Coming in a close fourth with 53 bream was another past finisher, Gage Rainer.
In the 11-15-age division, there were several repeat winners. In fact, at least 3 of the 4 finishers had placed among the winners in past years. Just as Jackie Giles showed the boys how to do it in the younger division, Brittany Warren showed the older boys how it was done. Brittany took first place after several years of competing. She fished with a rod and reel that she won 2 years ago by placing among the top finishers in the lower age division. Brittany had fished in the tourney several times without any luck prior to placing among the winners that year.
This year eleven-year-old Brittany caught 44 fish and took the top spot. Another past finisher coming in a close second was Nathan Harris with 42 fish. Ryan Tabb came in third with a strong showing as well. Fourth place went to Brittany's brother Jason Warren. Although they didn't fish near each other most of the day, they still made up a pretty good fishing team. Seth Cole also had a nice string of bream while catching the big fish of this division.
Perhaps one of the most moving moments of the day came in tribute to longtime outdoorsman and fisherman George Blackwell, who passed away last week. George had originally helped Mr. Tillman with the stocking of the bass and bream in the Tillman's lake. In fact, for several years Blackwell advised the Tillmans how to manage the pond properly. The results speak for themselves as bream nearing 2 pounds have been caught in the lake. It was quite fitting that Mr. Frank began the day with a moment of silent prayer in tribute to and in memory of the popular sportsman.
Big bass, too
And who knows, the next state record bass may even be swimming in those waters. It seems that every year during the tourney some angler loses their string of bream to a large bass. This year one large bass almost made off with a stringer of bream in the line of young anglers.
At the end of the day all of the fishermen who had not won any prizes received a bag full of lures and baits. This was due to the help of the many sponsors, who are too numerous to name.
One of the lucky anglers to finish the day on a high note was 9-year-old Amber Roper of Enterprise elementary school. The third grader won a $50.00 savings bond. It was a tribute indeed to Mr. And Mrs. Tillman and all of the local sponsors, that every angler left the lake with some kind of a prize. If you didn't make it to the lake last Saturday, you missed a fine fishing day. It was a day that won't soon be forgotten by a lot of youngsters. Yes, it was truly a day for making memories!