Memorial fishing tournament baits youth

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MILFORD — For the second year in a row, the legacy of Robert Messick continued to live on through what he loved doing most: fishing.

Fishing poles in hand, nearly 100 kids showed up to the second annual Robert “Bobby” Messick Memorial Youth Fishing Tournament at Goat Island near the Vineyard Shipyard.

Kevin Pase, the primary organizer from last year’s event, took on the responsibility once again for the second go-around. Mr. Pase is a member of Mr. Messick’s fishing club, the Three Rivers Bassmasters Fishing Club.

The one request Mr. Messick’s family had for the club following his 2012 death was a fishing tournament in his honor. So that’s exactly what Mr. Pase and the club set out to do.

“The event went great last year,” Mr. Pase said. “We had 129 participants. We had a great day of fishing, a lot of fish were caught. We really had a good response to it, and we’re excited we get to do it again this year.”

 Robert Messick’s daughter Barbara Messick joins event organizer and fishing club member Kevin Pase in handing out awards at the end of the day.  The Chronicle/Ben Heck

Robert Messick’s daughter Barbara Messick joins event organizer and fishing club member Kevin Pase in handing out awards at the end of the day. The Chronicle/Ben Heck

The event was free of charge to the public.

Accompanied by a parent or guardian for safety reasons, kids aged four years- old all the way up to 18-yearsold were invited to participate.

Mr. Pase and the fishing club kicked the event off at 8:55 a.m. with the playing of the National Anthem before letting the kids and their families get out their gear and start casting their rods into the water.

In order for the event to be more family friendly this year, it was cut one hour shorter to accommodate the smaller kids. It was also moved a few months back, from June last year to September this year.

“We cut out one hour, because, for the smaller children, it just seemed a little bit long,” Mr. Pase said. “Last year, they got tired. This year we have a much nicer day and we hope the kids are able to stay the whole time.

“It’s a great event for the children, it gets them away from the X-box and computers for a few hours. This gets them out of the house and into the outdoors and shows them something Bobby liked to do. It’s a time of reflection as well, to remember him and why we’re out here.”

Much of Mr. Messick’s family was in attendance enjoying the lovely weather and honoring his life by doing what he loved most.

“He loved taking the grandkids fishing and now he can’t do that,” his wife Karen Messick said. “The girls, when he died, asked the club to just hold a tournament for kids in his name and they followed through on it. We really appreciate it.”

Mr. Messick’s younger sister, Joann Havelow, added, “This is such a great event. All the fun, the support… Just the tribute to my brother is wonderful. It’s been great to make a family event out of this, which my brother would have loved.

“He was all about family, and his grandchildren, and this event would just make him so proud.”

In addition to the fishing, which went on for approximately three hours, the event also included a free lunch provided by a handful of local businesses, a moon bounce and tents provided by Milford Rent-Alls. Awards for the tournament’s winners and participants were presented at the end.

Among the prizes were trophies for first, second and third place for each age group, dozens of gift cards, two bikes and a $200 grand prize.

With a second consecutive successful tournament under their belts, the Messick family and Three Rivers Bassmasters Fishing Club are making plans to put together a committee for future fishing tournaments.

This will allow a group of volunteers to help organize the tournament on a year-round basis, rather than just three months leading up to the event.

The legacy of Mr. Messick will only continue to live on in future years through the Robert “Bobby” Messick Memorial Youth Fishing Tournament.

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