Casey Stockton bass tourney combines memorial with competition
By Macy Reeves
For the FCT
May 21, 22 boats and 44 fishermen and women participated in the third annual Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship Bass Tournament.
Each year the Casey Stockton Memorial fishing tourney gathers supporters to fish, compete and remember Casey, as well as raise money for the Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship, which is given to two recipients either in Franklin County or Russellville City schools. This year’s recipients were Hayden Suddith, from Russellville High School, and Harley Voyles, from Phil Campbell High School, both of whom fish on the teams at their respective schools, and both of whom fished in the tournament this year.
“I participated out of respect and gratitude. I’ve been wanting to fish in the tournament for three years, then when I found out I won his scholarship, it turned from a ‘want to’ to a ‘have to’ compete in his tournament,” said Suddith.
“It means a lot to participate in this tournament. I wish he could be here. I was fishing for him, not myself,” Voyles added.
The tournament was originally created by the Belgreen Bass Club, which Casey fished with. People and businesses donate prizes, and Burger King donates hamburgers for the event. The entire community gets involved in remembering Casey.
The fish were really biting Saturday, making the competition even steeper. The tournament took place at Cedar Creek’s Slick Rock boat ramp, both Casey’s favorite places to fish and to dock.
“It is really humbling that people thought enough of Casey to want to do this for him and to keep his memory alive,” said mother Lisa Stockton. “As parents, I think one of your biggest fears is that people will forget about your child after they die. But as long as this tournament goes on and a scholarship is given, he’ll live forever. That’s our goal – that he lives forever. You’ll never be healed from the death of your child, but it’s just a way to remember him every year.”
Coming in first place in the tournament were Joe Ashley and Johnathan Motes, followed by Josh Smith and Steve Watts in second, John Watts and John Tanner Watts third, Sunny Boyd and Brian Bragwell fourth, Ronny Wray and Paxton Wray fifth, Trent Richardson and Hayden Suddith in lucky seven and Josh Smith and Steve Watts with the lunker.