Bishop DeGrood

Bishop Donald DeGrood

The 26th annual Bishop’s Fishing Tournament, Mass, Supper is set for June 14 near Pierre. The fundraiser benefits seminarian education.

After the tournament, a Mass will be led by Bishop Donald Degrood. Then, after a social time visiting with Degrood and other clergy and seminarians, attendees will be served a prime rib dinner. Except for the tournament and supper, all the other activities are free and open to everyone.

“Our event was cancelled last year because of COVID. We were not able to gather in boats, for a meal, the social and Mass with the Bishop,” Catholic Community Foundation’s Ellen Keena said. “The prime rib dinner is held at the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area in Picnic Shelter 1. We are blessed to have 16 young men discerning their call to the priesthood. We believe there are 11 seminarians who will be in attendance at the tournament.”

One tournament, a virtual one, is June 5-14 in any public body of water in South Dakota. Entries have 10 days to fish with family and friends. Submit your biggest catches to the iangler app.

The second tournament, at the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area northwest of Pierre, is on June 14. The Pierre agenda is 6:30 a.m. registration, 7:30 a.m. the tournament “blasts off,” 2:30 p.m. weigh-in, 3:30 p.m. Mass, 4:15 p.m. Social and at 5 p.m. an outdoor prime rib dinner.

A twin tournament was held on June 7 in Douthitt Park near Big Stone Lake in northeast South Dakota.

“This is only the 4th year that the Pierre-area has hosted the tournament. The first 22 years were hosted by Gettysburg. Big Stone has hosted the tournament all 26 years. This is our second year of offering the virtual option,” event co-chair Julie Kueter said.

The in-person tournaments are based on weight, and the virtual tournament is based on length. Those fishing can choose to be in more than one fishing option, they just need to pay a reduced half-fee registration if fishing more than one aspect of the tournament.

“The fishers may keep their catch or donate them. We clean and donate them to the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Sioux Falls,” Kueter said.

The fundraiser benefits men studying for the priesthood in the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. The diocese covers all of S.D.’s East River region. Most of the participants came for the post-fishing, land-based events in the afternoon and evening at the Recreation Area — the outdoor Mass and the prime rib dinner served in the picnic shelter area, and the fellowship.

“It demonstrates the community of faith in the diocese to help call men into the priesthood and support them during their seminary education and as priests,” Jordre said.

The cost of a seminarian’s schooling averages nearly $45,050 per seminarian per year, according to the Foundation; which is why this special fundraising event is held.

There are not money prizes for the fishing, because of the fundraising mission. But there’s still competition and top anglers are recognized for the two main categories of walleye and bass, plus an “other” category that includes northern pike. The categories include largest walleye by a youth and by an adult, largest bass by a youth and by an adult, largest other fish, first and second and third places for total weight of six fishes of walleye and of bass brought in by a team, and most total weight knights challenge.

Registration for fishing begins at 6:30 a.m. with fishing between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pierre is hosting the event.

For more information, contact the local Catholic church’s Jordre at 605-222-0619 or Kueter at 605-224-7233.

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