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Parties, auctions, drawings a huge part of the event


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BY RICH HOLLAND
WON Staff Writer

Parties, $150,000 in drawings charity auctions of jewelry and Dave Wirth Carving command $17,000 to childrens center in Cabo, and Team 30 wins both of the sportfisger Intrepid 10-day trips in 'sticker' contests; Larry Rozuko wins grand prie drawing, for a trip for two for Waterfall Resort in Alaska

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The champs, dignitary and director

The partying starts right away during the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot, what with the Corona tent bar offering shade and liquid relief from the hot sun that blazes at the entrance to the fabulous Puerto Paraiso Mall.

While the mall itself is chilled by AC, such is not the case outside, where staffers process entries and sponsors answer questions while staying cool as best they can thanks to the shade of their own tents and the wares of Corona beer vendors.

There seemed to be several strategies among entrants at the check-in. A good many showed up early to check in and then came back later for the Captains' Meeting celebration hosted by Costa del Mar sunglasses. Even more showed up late in order to cut the time waiting for the start of the evening event, so many that the start was delayed. Others showed up early, grabbed choice seats out of the sun and stayed the whole time.

A popular pastime was the G. Loomis/Avet casting contest, which was free this year. Ron Atwood survived a castoff to make the finals and bested John Boyer, Matt Scarcella and Todd Hochstedler to win $400. Each of the four finalists received a G. Loomis rod and Avet reel combo.

By then it was time to start the giveaways and as always it took three nights of partying to give away all the great product provided by the Tuna Jackpot sponsors. A big favorite were the Costa del Mar sunglasses that seemed to flow like water into the crowd.

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Team Rehanb can't hide its excitement

Rockcod Rick Maxa of Let's Talk Hook-Up! radio show did a great job of keeping things moving and the crowd helped him give those who weren't in attendance the heave ho, especially when the prize up for grabs was an Avet Reel or G. Loomis rod.

The next day it was a part on the water at the first shotgun start off the Arch, and friends and family and onlookers were at the weigh-in to check out the big tuna brought in while the Corona beer flowed under the Corona tent bar nearby. That night, Thursday, was an "off-night" of rest, given that there was another day of fishing to go, by the time the scale closed Friday night, the teams were ready to party!

Without question, the biggest party of the event is bash at Cabo Wabo, with the house band Wabo rockin' from the get-go as an instant line formed for the great food provided by Solomon's Landing restaurant.

Speaking of Solomon's, the restaurant bar was once again the official hangout of the Tuna Jackpot staff and was better than ever since a remodel created a separate kitchen space, massive palapa with ceiling fans and more seating, a huge bar and two plasma TVs, and convenient restrooms for men and women (patrons had to walk into the Tesoro hotel lobby until the remodel).

But Friday night at Cabo Wabo is when everyone involved with the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot gets together to party and the 2007 event was the best yet.

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Taxes are paid up -- in full

Director Pat McDonell started it off with a welcome, announced some info on the unofficial results of the weigh-ins, and also had some fun with one angler who was called up to the stage to get his prize – a phone number from young lass from Seattle who before leaving town that afternoon gave the phone number to a tourney staffer to pass on. Ahh Cabo! So many ways to win!

Then there was another fun prize giveaway and it was a big one., worth $9,000!

Two 10-day trips on the long range sportfisher Intrepid were awarded to anglers on team No. 30. The four-man team not only won one of the 10-day trips when they won the "Got Tuna" sticker contest the first day of the shotgun start by being the first team spotted to have the sticker on their boat after the 6:40 designated time by the staff of the start boat Oceanus during check-in, BUT it was an incredible stroke of good luck that one of the stickers placed there by team 30 was also found the next evening at Soloman's Landing just after the 5 p.m. spotting "deadline" picked by Director Pat McDonell that day. The only requirement was that the sticker placed "somewhere" visible in town.

That sticker at Soloman's which happened to be on the forehead of one of the # 30 anglers as McDonell walked by him at the restaurant, was also worth the other 10-day trip for the angler whose name was on the sticker.

"It was actually kind of funny how it happened, and when they asked me which team won the other trip among the boats with stickers at the shotgun start, I told them, 'It was team 30.' They said 'That's us!'"

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Minerva II team celebrates

Thus the team, amazingly, won both of the trips on the luxury long range boat. They team members were Scott Dilley, Albert Behr, Jonathan Behr and Steve Anderson. The only question remains, which two will go on the 10-day trips?

Which ever of the two members of the Team 30 go they will enjoy a beautiful sportfisher and a top-notch crew - and fantastic cuisine.

One highlight of the evening was when Milt Zemanek of Eat Me Lures got up on the stage and sang not one, but two songs while accompanied by the Wabo band and numerous staff, sponsors wives and daughters. Inno time, the dance floor was crowded and the shot glasses empty.

The next day, Saturday, was a time to relax before the awards ceremony at the beautiful setting by the marina at Puerto Paraiso Mall. The awards ceremony is not only the time to hand out checks to the winners, but to give something back to the community. That effort started off with a speech by Marco Ehrenberg in Spanish that was translated by his wife Tracy. The Ehrenbergs took on the task this year of not only securing all the permits, but also took signups for Cabo area residents in the days leading up to the tourney. They were invaluable to the success of the event, as were many people in Cabo.

Marco and Tracy Ehrenberg acknowledged the role Western Outdoor News has played in the development of the sportfishing community in Baja and noted "the vision of Ray Cannon has come true."

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700 people attended awards dinner

He invited attending dignitaries from the municipal and federal governments, as well as the admiral of the port and a representative of API (which runs the marina) up on stage for the presentation of checks representing the taxes taken out of the winnings, which amounted to more than $70,000. The state federal and municipal taxes amounted to a combined 15 percent of the anglers' winnings. Thousands of other dollars were paid by WON for permits obtained by Tracy and her staff in the months and weeks leading up to the event.

Ehrenberg pointed out the tax money will go directly to benefiting the community of Cabo San Lucas and continue to make it possible for everyone who wants to come to Land's End and enjoy the fantastic fishing.

The Ehrenbergs also recognized Minerva Saenz of Minerva's Tackle for her untiring efforts on the behalf of Cabo sportfishing and the community.

Barbara Martinez of Corona and the Corona Girls then presented Kathy Canfield of Los Niños del Capitan with a $3000 check.

Minerva was next up on the stage and with past winner Doug Collyer showed off a tuna necklace that Tournament Director Pat McDonell auctioned to Wally Ormerod of Alberta for $2200, an amount matched by Bisbee's. In addition, a contingency fund put together by Dave Bultheis of Costa del Mar contributed another $2,100 to charity.

The final auction piece was hardwood sculptor David Wirth's creation of a wahoo, dorado, tuna and lure out of a single piece of navel orange tree from Temecula. The winning bid was $5,100 by John and Janeane Maryanski of Auburn. That brought the total raised for charity that evening to $14,600, which doesn't include numerous cash donations made during the course of the night.

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Artist Dave Wirth addresses crowd

The Tuna Jackpot features another form of charity — hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes given to the competitors. Event regular Victor Locklin was the big winner Saturday night, as his name was drawn in the early bird signup raffle and he and his team walked away with an $8500 package that included 4 roundtrips from LAX to Cabo on Mexicana, 4 Avet Reels, 4 G. Loomis rods, 4 Plano rod cases, 4 Seaguar leader packs, 4 Rapala gift packs, 4 bulk spools of Berkley Hi Test Big Game Line, 4 pairs of Costa del Mar Sunglasses, 4 $100 gift cards to Turners, 4 $100 Booyah clothing gift certificates, 4 Leatherman tools and 4 $50 Cabela's gift certificates.

On the first night a trip to Buenavista Beach Resort was given away, and this night John Maryanski won the trip to El Salto Lake, Curt James of Whittier won $2000 worth of General Tires and Lance Schley won two of almost everything on stage. Miguel Tumbeiro cleaned up on the last big ticket gear item when he went home with a brand new Furuno. That doesn't even count the endless stream of Williamson Lures, Seaguar Fluorocarbon, Rapala lures, Eat Me Lures, Leatherman tools, Berkley Hi Test Line, Fred Hall, Turner's and Cabela's gift certificates. Hey, it takes a lot to add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the traditional end to the evening, Chuck Baird of Waterfall Resort gave away the grand prize, a trip for two to that incredible Alaska fishing destination. One unlucky angler didn't stay long enough to claim the prize, but when Baird pulled Larry Rozuko's name, teammate Don Wood was there to accept the trip. "He might even take me with him," said Wood.

Director Pat McDonell said so long and see you next year and the party moved onto the streets and into the clubs of Cabo San Lucas.

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