The Bishop’s Fishing Tournament, held for the second year in Pierre to raise money for Catholic seminarians, brought more than 200 people together this week at the Downstream Recreation Area north of the city along the Missouri River, said Galen Jordre.
A retired pharmacist, Jordre was a key organizer of the tournament held as a fundraiser for men studying for the priesthood in the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, which covers all of South Dakota’s East River region.
The tournament was held Monday, June 10, “a day that was blessed with outstanding weather for fishing and general outdoor activities,” according to Jordre.
He said 22 teams of fishermen comprising about 70 people launched out into the deep of Lake Oahe from early morning to early afternoon.
Most of the day’s participants came for the post-fishing, land-based events in the afternoon and evening at the Recreation Area: the Mass celebrated outdoors by Bishop Paul Swain and for the prime rib dinner served in the picnic shelter area and the fellowship, Jordre said.
“It seemed like everyone had a good time and the event would not have been successful without many volunteers from the area who contributed their time, talent and treasure,” Jordre said in a news release.
The volunteers were not all at the River. A group spent time from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Sts Peter and Paul Catholic parish in Pierre praying for the safety of the fishermen and for the seminarians and the priests, Jordre said.
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 purpose of the fishing tournament is not mainly to catch whoppers but to raise funds for 21 men who are, or soon will be, attending seminary to become priests for the diocese, Jordre said.
This tournament has been held for 23 years, the first 21 out of Sacred Heart parish in Gettysburg, South Dakota. Last year it was moved to Pierre where Sts Peter and Paul has a larger base for volunteers, he said.
A twin tournament is held on Big Stone Lake in northeast South Dakota,this year on June 3.
Last year the two tournaments raised a total of $142,000 — about half from each event — through sponsorships, participant fees, a raffle and silent auction and other contributions, Jordre said.
This year’s receipts haven’t been totaled yet, he said.
It’s all done through the Catholic Community Foundation of Eastern South Dakota.
Six of the 15 current seminarians took part in the Pierre tournament this week, so it provided a time for parish members to spend time with Bishop Swain and the future priests in an informal venue, Jordre said.
The cost of a seminarian’s schooling averages nearly $41,000 a 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 winners were:
Largest Walleye by Youth: Barron Kafka 4.34 lbs
Largest Walleye by Adult: Derek Scheifelbein
Largest Bass by Youth: Paul VanDover 2.46 lbs
Largest Bass by Adult: Andrew Berreth 4.43 lbs
Largest Other Fish: Mark Ammann 9.50 lbs Northern
3rd Place Most Total Weight – Bass: Dr. Phil, Dr. Mike, Dr. Chad 10.44 lbs
2nd Place Most Total Weight – Bass: Tim Pugh, Pat Thompson, Scott Miller 10.68 lbs
1st Place Most Total Weight – Bass: Joshua Lehman, Jefferson Lehman 11.76 lbs
3rd Place Most Total Weight – Walleye: Albert Andrew, Becky Berreth 9.54 lbs
2nd Place Most Total Weight – Walleye: Gary, Diane, Brylee, Barron Kafka 11.8 lbs
1st Place Most Total Weight – Walleye: Brad Saathoff, Derek Scheifelbein, Steve Gray 13.42 lbs
Most Total Weight Knight’s Challenge: Gary, Diane, Brylee, Barron Kafka 11.8 lbs