By Tim Knapp, Contributing Writer
The Captain’s meeting was held on August 8th at the Delray Beach Elks Lodge. 19 boats entered the tournament this year. Lots of great prizes were given away and a significant amount of money was raised for the various charities that the tournament supports. The weigh-in was held at Veterans Park, on August 10th. Some very nice fish were brought to the weigh-in. It was also clear that the local population of sharks were celebrating Shark Week, as numerous anglers reported donating their fish to the sharks as they were being reeled in. The weather stayed very calm until the late afternoon. As always, we had great prizes donated by our fantastic supporters and sponsors. A memorial for Deena Chapman, Mark’s sister, who was a long time committee member and passed in January was held on Sunday.
The tournament was started by Mark Gerretson as the Delray Beach Jaycees Fishing Tournament to raise money for the Delray Police’s Kids and Cops program. Mark ran the tournament for 11 years before he passed in 2005. At that time, his friends and family made a promise to keep the tournament going, and to continue to raise money for a variety of charities that support the Delray Beach Community. In 2016, the tournament became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All committee members are volunteers. The committee works throughout the year to plan the tournament, identify worthy causes, and disburse the money to those in need. Over the years the tournament has raised over $150,000 for local charities and provided help and hope to many children and families during tough times.
The committee members are: Tim Knapp (Chairman), Patricia Gerretson (Mark’s mom), Keith Kern, Gary (Falcon) Musial, Jen Buce, Paul Shersty, Chris Reich, Jim Gerretson, and Brittany Gerretson Roberts.
(Website at www.mgmft.net and friend us on Facebook at Mark Gerretson Memorial Fishing Tournament)
Next year is the 26th Annual of the tournament’s founding, and we’re already working on plans to have bigger prizes and more boats entered. We are counting on the community to help spread the word and help us benefit the Delray Beach Community. We are looking for additional committee members to help us continue the work that the tournament has been doing. If you are interested and can help with advertising the tournament, working the tournament, talking to sponsors, or in other ways, please reach out to us at: [email protected] or call Tim (561) 789-0814.