1st Annual “Think Alaskan Pink Ladies Classic” Raises Over $5000 for Charity
August 15, 2011 – Ketchikan, AK – Alaska Sportfishing Expeditions has wrapped up its first annual “Think Alaskan Pink Ladies Classic”. The charity event, held from August 10 through 15 at Clover Pass Resort in Ketchikan, included guided and self-guided fishing, workshops and demonstrations, and culminated with a one-day pink salmon fishing tournament.
“We had been trying to put all of the pieces of this event together for a few years and are very pleased with the way things ultimately turned out,” said Russell Thomas, Clover Pass Resort General Manager. “We felt like our team accomplished a lot of our goals when everyone that participated insisted we set the dates for next year’s event so they could plan on attending.”
Thomas started the planning for the event after talking to numerous ladies while planning trips for the guys in their lives. “I would always say, ‘There’s still room on this list for you,’ and a lot of times the responses were, ‘This is a guy’s trip,’ or, ‘My husband won’t show me how to fish,’ or ‘I would never be able to do that on my own.’ I always thought that if we provided the right setting where women felt like they could ask a lot of questions and get some actual hands-on practical experience, those barriers would be removed and the fear of the unknown would completely go away.”
The fishing-related workshops were designed to introduce Southeast Alaska fishing techniques to potential first-time fisherwomen and to improve the techniques of ladies that already had extensive experience fishing in Alaska. A salmon fishing seminar taught by mother/daughter Ketchikan fishing experts Louise & Misty Pattison started the week off, followed by a knot tying seminar, a cooking class specific to salmon and halibut, as well as practical hands-on boat and gear demonstrations on the dock.
“All of the classes were terrific,” said Jen Elliott, one of the Ketchikan women that signed up to be part of a team. “The teachers were enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and made everyone feel very comfortable, like there were no stupid questions. I’ve fished some with my husband since moving to Ketchikan but still found there was so much about fishing that I could learn.”
It was determined early on in the planning stages that some of the charity work would benefit breast cancer causes. Thomas’s mother, grandmother, and Aunt are all breast cancer survivors. “The cause of educating women, promoting early detection and treatment, and of ultimately finding a cure for breast cancer was something that we knew would not only be important to women in general, but is also something very personal to our family and to our organization,.” Thomas said.
However, Thomas and his team also wanted to find another way to make the event even more personal for the participants. During a brainstorming session they determined that half of the charity proceeds would be donated to breast cancer causes, and the other half would be directed to the tournament winner’s charity of choice. The idea was a hit with tournament participants who signed up representing a host of well-deserving charities including the First City Council On Cancer (Ketchikan, Alaska), Wounded Warriors Project, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others.
Eight team comprised of thirty competitors fished on Sunday, August 14, raising over $5000 for charity. Pam Thomas, a breast cancer survivor herself, landed the winning pink at 4.6 lbs. Her fish netted her charity, the First City Council on Cancer, over $1300. Ms. Thomas’ charity stood to benefit even more, but befitting the spirit of the tournament, she donated half of her portion of the proceeds to the charities of the two women who tied for second with 4.5 lb entries. Cindy Nash (Orange Beach, Alabama) took home $650 for her charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, as did Sylvia Johnston (International Falls, MN) for her charity, the Koochiching County Health Department Dialysis Center.
The tournament attracted the attention of Fishin’ Chix marketing director, Captain Hallie Burnett. The Fishin’ Chix is a national women’s fishing organization dedicated to providing women access and opportunity to fish. “The Think Alaskan Pink Ladies Classic embodies the Fishin’ Chix motto to “join the fishin’ sisterhood” in many ways,” said Burnett. “The slogan for our own tournament series, the Pink Rubber Boots Ladies Fishing Rodeo: ‘No boat, no gear, no experience? No problem!’ was incorporated perfectly into the Think Alaskan Pink event. Both tournaments invite women of all ages and skill levels to participate and both are turn-key fishing adventures that makes it EASY for ANYONE to try this awesome sport.” That was exactly the type of events Chix founder, Claudia Espenscheid, envisioned when she formed the Fishin’ Chix organization and the reason the Think Alaskan Pink event was an attractive addition to the organization’s calendar. “The success that the Fishin’ Chix from Minnesota, Illinois, Florida and Alabama experienced at the Ketchikan Ladies Classic is proof that Miss Espenschied’s vision is now a reality, and I was very happy to be a part of it.”
Thomas and his team are already making plans for next year. “Although we accomplished a lot of what we had hoped to, this event triggered a lot of ideas about the kinds of things we could do to make it even more meaningful for participants next year. We’ve already started planning for what promises to be another fantastic week of events!”
Clover Pass Resort is one of the longest operating fishing lodges in the State of Alaska, opening its doors in the early 1950’s. The resort
is located on the road system about 12 miles north of downtown Ketchikan and on the shores of Clover Passage, a corridor for salmon returning to their spawning grounds each summer. All five types of pacific salmon, halibut, rock fish, and ling cod are available in the waters around Ketchikan. The resort has capacity for 60 guests, with a dining room, marina, and RV park.
Largest Pink Salmon – Individual
Most Cumulative Weight – Team
Largest Pink Salmon – Senior
Largest Pink Salmon – Youth
Largest Silver Salmon – Individual
Dates for the 2nd Annual Think Alaskan Pink Ladies Classic
August 7 – 12, 2012
To see more pictures of the event, check out Clover Pass Resort’s Facebook page.