Small pond, big fun with Reese

Hundreds turn out for fishing tips, fun from pro angler, who sponsors event to raise funds for community center
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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MEADOW VISTA — Skeet Reese admits he hasn’t had much to smile about on the pro bass fishing circuit in 2011. “Unfortunately, this season’s been horrible,” Reese said. “I’ve been pretty spoiled the last few years with my finishes, but I’ve just had some distractions this year — all good things. There’s always next season.” On Saturday morning at Meadow Vista Park, Reese was beaming as hundreds of youngsters wet lines — many for the first time — at a fishing derby. The event served as a fundraiser for the Meadow Vista Community Center, but Reese said more importantly, exposed youth to the wonders of fishing and the outdoors. “This is really about the kids fishing and having fun,” Reese said. “I wanted to do this to get kids and their parents to learn to enjoy the outdoors and be in this environment. These days a lot of people are into video games and TV and they’ve never been exposed to fishing or hunting before. I wanted to be able to give back and share my passion for fishing.” Reese is one of the biggest names in bass fishing. He was the 2007 Angler of the Year and won the 2009 Bassmaster Classic — the Super Bowl of fishing. The Christian Valley resident has five victories in 13 years as a pro and more than $2 million in winnings. A break in his schedule allowed him to return home to help out with the tournament, which his wife Kim helped organize. “We had a vision of what we thought would be fun for kids and we’ve always wanted to do a kids tournament, but we didn’t know how we would do it,” Kim said. “We’ve donated money to the (community center) and we thought we could do some more. It’s something we drive by every day and Skeet and I agreed that it would be a good thing to support.” The Department of Fish and Game chipped in Saturday, providing 1,200 pounds of fish to stock the pond. Many youngsters got fishing poles and gear provided by Reese and his sponsors, who also donated dozens of raffle items for the fundraiser. Reese was hoping to raise another substantial amount of money and inspire other community members to chip in. “They’ve got enough money to open the North wing,” Reese said. “Hopefully that can inspire people to donate and they can eventually finish the project.”