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Jimmy’s Friends holds fishing rodeo

April 17, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

What kid doesn't like going out for a day out at the fishing hole?

On Saturday, about 75 of them showed up with their mom, dad or other older angler at the ponds off Still Lane for the 12th annual Jim's Friends Helping Friends fishing rodeo for kids, where there was some competition, but it was mostly for fun and a good cause.

The weather was nice and the fish were biting as children from babes-in-arms to 17 went fishing for prizes for having the biggest fish, smallest fish, most fish and the biggest bass.

Article Photos

Hunter Royal and his dad, Keith, with one of his many catches Saturday at the Jim’s Friends Helping Friends Fishing Rodeo.


Jimmy Roberts said that the event serves as more a way to get the name out as much as for fundraising.

"We don't make much with this event. It's about getting our name out and letting people know what we do and give children something to do," Roberts said.

Roberts started doing the fishing rodeo after another person who did one stopped doing it. Roberts was contacted by a friend who owns the lake.

"He wanted to know what we could do with the lake and I suggested the fishing rodeo," Roberts said. "We knew what to do."

It couldn't be done without volunteers like Gary Roberts (no relation) and Phil Schmidt, who work all the time to help Jimmy, especially on Saturday where they manned the food station, cooking burgers and dogs.

"We help out with any benefit he does. It's a beautiful day and there are a lot of hungry people," Roberts said. "It keeps money local to help families in need. Sometimes there are tragic events."

"You never know when it will be you on the other side of the table," Schmidt said. "Sometimes it hits close to home."

Roberts provided the worms and the kids provided the fun. Kelsi Meredith brought her daughter, Clara, 5, as part of her 4-H enrollment.

"We haven't caught anything, but it's still early. I like being outside and not in front of the TV," Kelsi said as Clara worked her rod.

"I love fishing because I love the worms. I love fishing because I catch big ones and small ones all the time," Clara said. "I like the beach, too."

Some, like Hunter Royal, 6, were able to stick their pole in the water and catch something.

Others, like Zabrina Spannuth, 12, caught a "rare black stick" to the delight of family.

"It's beautiful out, it's peace and quiet and we're enjoying the kids all being able to go fishing," said Steve Woosley. "We're good fishermen. We've caught some bass. It's a great way to relax as a family."

Jim's Friends Helping Friends is a 510 c 3 non-profit that helps people in the community who have run into hard times due to medical conditions and need money to help pay bills. They also help struggling families celebrate Christmas by providing them with toys for the kids and Christmas dinner.

Their next big fundraiser will the fourth-annual rib rodeo on Saturday, April 27, at Mike Greenwell's on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.



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