The Sound Charity Shootout all got started, back in the summer of 2017. At that time, it was formally known as the “Derby within a Derby” which ran inside the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular event. It was on the 600 dock run, at Georgian Shores Marina. Prepping for the “Olde Buds” and the upcoming Derby, Denis Bester and I got talking about how we keep seeing the same anglers, on the Daily Top 10 board. We both agreed, that these anglers should be recognized for being great fisherman, and at the same time, raise money for the club. That first year, we saw 62 anglers battling it out for bragging rights. There were a few prizes courtesy of local sponsors, and $310 raised for the Sydenham Sportsman Association.
In 2018 at the age of 63, Denis Bester lost his battle to cancer. Soon after Denis’ passing, Luke Bester (Son), called me up and suggested that we should do something in memory of Denis. I knew just the thing to honor the man, that helped bring this event to life. We already had all the details planned out that day on the boat in 2017, but just a simple name change is all it will need. “The Denis Bester Memorial Shootout” was picked, and remains to this day!
With the help of Drew Watson in 2018 and 2019, we’ve seen the event grow to 92 anglers. Over $1,800 had been raised and donated to the Sydenham Sportsman Association, where Denis spent numerous years dedicating his time to the fisheries, and wildlife projects.
The 2020 Denis Bester Memorial Shootout was up in the air, with all of the COVID restrictions, and the cancellation of the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular Derby. I received a call in April, shortly after the public release of the Salmon Spectacular cancellation, from Mark Pedersen. He is a fellow Lake Ontario tournament competitor, and past participant of the Shootout. Knowing we had an opportunity to give local anglers and families, a positive outlook during these difficult times, we got down to planning. Over the next few months, Mark, Drew and I, revised the existing format, secured over 30 generous sponsors, and enlisted the support of the Bester family.
The Bester family made sure all of our 54 volunteers, were taken care of! Surprising us all, with a hand carved 1st place trophy made by Wayne (brother of Denis). By volunteering to work the weigh scales, and Kathy (wife) and Luke (son), making sure every angler was thanked personally. Hearing all the stories and memories that resurfaced of Denis, throughout the duration of this event, made it clear he was a fantastic family man, great fisherman and an advocate for our community.
Upon completion of the event, we knew something special had just happened here, and our expectations were completely blown out of the water! We had a “SOLD OUT” event, at 750 tickets and a 1003 anglers participated. The event raised $20,500 for two local charities. We definitely could not have done this, without the support from our anglers, sponsors and the many generous volunteers, who we are extremely grateful for!
The 2020 beneficiaries of $10,250 each were, The Salvation Army Family Services and Food Bank and, Big Brother and Big Sisters of Grey Bruce. This will ensure families are getting the support they need, and to continue the mentoring of young adults.
The 2021 Shootout event grew as the excitement was still in the air from 2020. With the growth came larger payouts, including $5,000 and a custom pendent necklace (donated by D.C. Taylor Jewellers) for first place. You also would have noticed grander event area and numerous anglers sporting Columbia PFG hoodies, sun shirts and hats. The sale of the PFG apparel allowed for additional funds to be raised for the charities. We are excited to partner up with The Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey Bruce once again and new for 2021 was, Chapman House Residential Hospice. We felt that these three organizations all play a big role in our community and we were proud to hand over $5,000 to each benefactor.
New for 2022, you’re going to see a new event name and format but with all the same goals.
The Sound Charity Shootout presents $1K A DAY for the biggest fish over 9 days. August 26th to September 3rd anglers will gather in the bay of Owen Sound and battle each day for the top prize of $1,000. Back by popular demand a limited supply of Columbia PFG apparel will be available to make sure you’re covered for those cooler mornings, nights and sunny afternoons.
With every ticket purchase, we will donate 100% of the value right back to The Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey Bruce, and Chapman House Residential Hospice. By purchasing a ticket every angler is helping to feed families, helping youth get mentored and helping provide comprehensive compassionate care to all.
HELPING THEM… TO HELP OTHERS!