by Brian Vincent
A little over a year ago, I attended the first annual Kayak Anglers Rendezvous at ARC-Hampton. I bought a fishing license the next day, something I hadn't done in a long time. The event, and the folks who attended, were awesome and made a big impression on me.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, I had the great pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Kayak Anglers Rendezvous. First and foremost, big props to the ARC-Hampton crew! The event had definitely grown. Last year I guessed about 50 people showed up, this year I'd put that count at 100, but it still kept the grassroots feel that had dominated the first year. And while the Kayak Angler Rendezvous is predominately about anglers coming together to just hang out, I'd be remise if I didn't mention the companies and Pro Staff fishermen in attendance. Whenever I attend these events, I'm always reminded of what a strong kayak fishing community we have in Virginia, from VA companies, to VA Pro Staffers and the great kayak fishing clubs, TKAA and POL.
Virginia Pro Staff guys in attendance and some of the companies they represent that we stock at ARC:
Kayak Kevin - Ocean Kayak/Aqua-Bound
Tracey Detwiler - FeelFree Kayaks
Pretty impressive group and that ain't even all of them.
There were also a lot of great local groups/ businesses at the Rendezvous as well. Many of whom donated to the raffles, which in turn raised money for Heroes on the Water Tidewater Chapter! But before the raffles, the Chili Cook-Off, and Striper Tournament Results went down.
There were 14 Chili contestants, with 43 people volunteering to "Judge" the chili. Jimmy Miler of Speedy's Hot Sauce, from VA Beach, donated a bottle of his hot sauce to every one who entered the Chili Cook-Off. Thanks Jimmy! If you haven't discovered Speedy's Hot Sauce yet, you need to get on it! We have some in the ARC-Hampton store.
After a tough battle and a lot of "judging" the results were tallied. All of the chili was awesome! Good Job contestants and thanks for playing. But to the victors go the glory. Here are the 2014 Chili Cook-Off winners:
In 3rd place, winning a $20 Gift Certificate to ARC, Jimmy Miller!
In 2nd Place, winning a $35 Gift Certificate to ARC, Wayne Mills!
In 1st Place, winning a $50 Gift Certificate to ARC, Robert Lee!
Next came the Striper Tournament results. 33 anglers registered for the 2 month long tournament. The format required slots to be filled in different inch lengths and then a big fish kicker. Striper season was pretty slow, but the top three guys found enough to make a run at it. Pictured below are the winners. From L to R: 1st Place w/ $100 ARC Gift Certificate and over 100 inches of Striper- Matthew Anderson, 3rd Place w/ $50 ARC Gift Certificate - Chuck Wrenn and 2nd Place w/ $75 ARC Gift Certificate - Tracey Detwiler. Congrats guys!
Speaking of PowerTeam Lures, Bob of PTL was on hand with some great deals on baits. We also had our ARC-PTL Bass Attack Kits on sale for the first time and they were flying out the door! Bob also started a "Guess the Grubs" contest to benefit HOW, with a jar full of PTL Grubs, and folks paid up, for a chance to guess the number and win the jar. The contest netted $87 for Heroes on the Water! Nice work! Thank you to Powerteam Lures, Bob and Katie!
Wayne Bradbys, of TKAA, not only brought a retail outlet with him, but he also raffled off a couple of dry tops for HOW and raised $80! Nice job Wayne and thanks!
Rob Alderman of Outer Banks Kayak Fishing came strong and offered a guided trip for two for the raffle. He raised $165 for HOW! Big thanks to Rob! A pretty cool prize. I love the following picture of the recipient and Rob. " I won a kayak angler!"
We also had three Green Ticket Raffles with items from Appomattox River Company, Yak Attack, PowerTeam Lures, and Speedy's Hot Sauce. The Green Ticket Raffles raised $500 for HOW! Big thanks to everyone who donated for the Raffles! And thanks to the nice folks who brought the homemade wine!
Going into the event, ARC-Hampton manager, Vic, had voiced his hesitancy towards marketing this event as a HOW charity gig. "So many people do that better and I don't want to pressure anyone. Let's just get this great community together to hang out and if we can raise some money, that will be very cool," Vic told me (I'm paraphrasing). What I once thought was non-chalance, I have since learned is Vic's humble way. He's not the type to wave his hand and say "look over here, look what I'm doing!" So, I'll do it for him. All told, $832 was raised for Heroes On the Water Tidewater Chapter and given to Chapter Coordinator, Tom Vanderheiden, at the end of the Rendezvous. That is pretty cool for a little grassroots event, in an alley way, off Mercury Blvd!
Vic isn't the only one who keeps this thing rolling along though. His wife, Tracey, and Andrea, ARC-Hampton Asst. Manager, handle a lot of logistics as well. Well done ladies! Thank You! And thank you to Dave, Bobby, Gary, Bill and Jack who kept everything humming along in the shop!
The 2nd Annual Kayak Anglers Rendezvous was a great success, and not because of the money raised (although very awesome!) and not because of the products sold and not because of the prizes won, but because the tribe came together and had a blast. That is what this event is about; the heckling, the laughter, the easy smiles, the fish tales, the community. I'd like to thank all of you, from the entire Appomattox River Company staff, for coming and contributing. It truly means a great deal to us. We've been talking about it on the phones and in the office for the last two days. It was great. Thank You.
On a personal note, it was once again, a good time hanging with the PTL Mafia, as always. Brothers.
I'll close with the same ending I wrote after last year's event. I was soo green, I had no clue what kayak fishing was about, and heck, I'm still figuring it all out. But, here is what I thought and what I still feel.
"As I talked with various people, a craving began to take hold. I wanted to experience the adrenaline of hooking into a big catch, out on the open water, in a kayak. It was happening.Â Once again, I found myself immersed in a new outdoor recreation world, marveling at the common passion that permeates all such pursuits and deciding that I had to get in on the action. I love outdoor people. No matter the specific jargon, gear or element, one thing is the same in every corner of recreation, the desire to get outside. At the 1st Annual ARC Rigging Contest & Chili Cook Off, I found families, couples, friends and acquaintances all sharing their passion for the water. I scanned the crowd following the awards presentation and the raffles and saw smiles on everyone's faces.Gentle and not so gentle heckling could be heard floating through the air. People shook hands and planned for the evening fishing expedition to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
As I gathered my things for the trip back to Farmville, one of my new friends asked, You coming out tonight, the fishing is going to be good.
It was all I thought about during my three hour drive. I won't miss that opportunity again."
And I have tried not to. It has been an honor meeting so many of you and sharing the water together.
So, if you are out there, thinking about getting into kayak fishing, but hesitant to come to these events, a little intimidated, shy, etc.....Bring It! A nicer group of folks, you will not meet. Do not miss the opportunity again.
P.S. Â 1)Congrats to Darren Powell for winning the PTL Salt Kit by posting his photo w/ the #paddleva to our wall. Thanks Darren! Message us on Facebook with your info and we'll get the kit to ya!
2)Also, I'll try to get all the photos posted to our Facebook page later tonight.
3) Stay tuned for next year. We're already planning for cool stuff....oh, and come see us at the Richmond Fishing Expo this weekend!