Before tackling the FLW Tour event last week on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis., several FLW Tour pros participated in Minnesota Vikings player Brian Robison’s “Reel ‘Em In” Foundation charity tournament in Wabasha, Minn. The event was organized to raise money for K9s4COPS, a nonprofit foundation that provides canines to law enforcement agencies, school districts and college campuses across the United States.
The event started Friday evening with an auction dinner at Slippery’s Tavern & Restaurant, made famous by the movies “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpier Old Men.” Sixteen FLW Tour pros, including Scott Martin, Jay Yelas and Cody Meyer, were randomly paired with Minnesota Vikings players such as Robison, Sam Bradford and Everson Griffin and auctioned off to the highest bidder as partners for a VIP fishing tournament being held Saturday. In addition to the FLW/Viking VIP boat auctions, silent and live auctions were held for other prizes such as an all-expense-paid trip for four to Lake Fork Marina for a fishing trip with Robison and the exclusive naming rights to a K9 that is being donated to a police department.
Saturday, the VIP auction winners awoke to near-perfect weather conditions for a day on the water. After breakfast, the Vikings players, FLW Tour pros and other members of the teams launched from Izaak Walton Park in Wabasha. Although a few of the participants didn’t have much experience fishing on the Mississippi River, all 17 teams in the competition managed to put at least two keepers in the boat.
(FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer heads through boat check with his team of MN Viking Brian Robison and VIP Rodney Dotson.)
(FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer and MN Viking Brian Robison show off a couple of nice Mississippi River smallmouth.)
(FLW Tour pro Scott Martin and his teammates MN Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and VIP Jimmy Robison show off their limit.)
(FLW Tour pro Blake Smith and MN Vikings QB Sam Bradford show off their day's catch.)
Top 10 standings
(FLW Tour pro/Minnestoa Viking/VIP Winner)
1. Brad Knight/Fat Cat Newton/Chad Springer, five bass, 16-9
2. Jeff Gustafson/Jerry Gray/Rick Pelletier, five bass, 15-11
3. Andy Young/Tom Johnson/Cory Williams, five bass, 15-10
3. Scott Martin/Pat Shurmur/Jimmy Robison, five bass, 15-10
5. Clark Reehm/Chris Doleman/Kristi Schiller, five bass, 14-12
6. Zack Birge/Everson Griffin/M.J. Wills, five bass, 14-0
7. Jay Yelas/Danielle Hunter/Kim Lemke, five bass, 13-7
8. Austin Felix/Marcus Sherels/Manuel DeAngel, five bass, 13-5
9. James Watson/John Schiller, five bass, 12-8
10. Luke Dunkin/Linval Joseph/Chad Springer, five bass, 10-14
11. Skeeter Fowler/MM Lawn and Leisure, four bass, 10-6
12. Blake Smith/Sam Bradford/Drew Pecarina, four bass, 10-4
13. Clark Wendlandt/Mike Burns, four bass, 9-4
14. Cody Meyer/Brian Robison/Rodney Dotson, five bass, 8-9
15. Kyle Cortiana/Pete Bercich/Manuel DelAngel, three bass, 7-9
16. Zell Rowland/Adam Thielen/Dan Pecarina, two bass, 4-12
17. Matt Stefan/Carl Lee/Dan Pecarina, two bass, 3-10
After the VIP tournament weigh-in concluded, the FLW Tour pros hit the road, heading 60 miles south to La Crosse to prepare for Sunday’s first day of practice for the FLW Tour event. Meanwhile, the “Reel ‘Em In” Foundation and the FLW tournament staff prepared for round two, an Open Tournament held Sunday. The tournament, with a $250 entry per boat, was open to all anglers and guaranteed a first-place prize of $4,000.
The Open Tournament was a big success, drawing anglers from across the Midwest to compete on the Mississippi River in Wabasha. After the last fish had been weighed on Sunday evening, the team of Cory Hauk and Mike Mattis took home the first-place prize with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces.
Formed in 2015 by Minnesota Vikings player Brian Robison and his wife, Jayme, the Brian Robison “Reel ‘Em In” Foundation provides financial, emotional and physical support for those in need. The foundation’s mission is to positively impact those in need through partnerships with existing organizations in local communities in Minnesota and Brian’s home state of Texas.
For the last two years, the Robisons have chosen to support K9s4COPS, a nonprofit foundation that provides canines to law enforcement agencies, school districts and college campuses across the United States. In four years, K9s4COPS has provided approximately 100 canines to 68 agencies and 12 schools across 28 states. Their dogs have helped make arrests and locate narcotics, explosives, weapons and cash. Not only do these highly skilled and trained animals provide invaluable detection abilities, but their diligent service allows their human partners to make it home safely to their families each night.
FLW wishes Robison and his Minnesota Vikings teammates the best of luck in their upcoming 2017 season. Skol Vikings!