Exchange Club readies for 30th Bass Tourney

Published 10:59am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Splish, splash: For the past 30 years Wetumpka’s Exchange Club has had local anglers making casts as part of the Rumbling Waters Team Bass Tournament.

A pair of Wetumpka Exchange Club members return the bass to the waters of the Coosa River following weigh-ins.
A pair of Wetumpka Exchange Club members return the bass to the waters of the Coosa River following weigh-ins.

“We started this in 1983 and we were just looking for a fundraiser,” said Haywood Robbins of the Wetumpka Exchange Club. “This has been our main fundraiser. We’ve sold popcorn and snow cones at Santuck and hamburgers and hot dogs at city events. But this has been our main one.”
The 2013 iteration of the Team Bass Tournament is scheduled for Saturday launching from Crommelin Landing at Gold Star Park and fishing the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Alabama rivers.
“I’m kind of suprised that we’ve been able to keep this thing going,” said Robbins, who with a handful of other members have seen their share of blastoffs.
Club members Marion Sanford, Henderson Traylor, Curtis Parrish and D.C. Spivey (charter member who started the Exchange Club in 1970) are still active.
“We have had up to 84 boats fishing this tournament. There was a time where we were averaging around 70 until the late 80s and early 90s and everyone started having a fishing tournament. Now everybody’s got one.”
Last year, the tournament netted 34 boats years prior saw the tournament range in size from 40-50 boats, with anglers chipping in the $100 entry fee.
“We’ve always had it on Labor Day weekend,” said Robbins. “One time we moved it to October and had the fewest boats we’ve ever had about eight or nine years ago. We went back to Labor Day and decided to keep it that weekend, the Saturday before.”
Payout for the annual affair is $2,000 to the winner, $800 to second, $500 to third, $300 to fourth and $200 to fifth.
The rest of the payoff is dependent upon the number of boaters competing.
“We’re to the point where we are seeing families come through and fish this tournament,” said Robbins. “And in the last three years we’ve gotten involved with Anglers for Kids and they help us out. We give some money to them.”
It’s a fitting pair, especially for a club whose mission is to support the community.
“We give to the child abuse prevention program and sponsor a Dixie team,” said Robbins. “Most of what we raise go to the scholarships we have and to the Youth of the Year that we award in March.”
This year’s tournament will see Don Day returning to emcee the event and will feature an auction.
Launch is 6 Saturday morning and weigh in scheduled for 2 that afternoon.
Registration is currently under way, but Robbins said a crew of Exchange Club members will be on hand Saturday morning at 3:30 to register boaters.
For additional information, contact Robbins at 567-5456.

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