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Generosity results in a record $27,002

Tuna Jackpot anglers dig deep for Cabo charities

NUEVO CREACION provides for young Cabo boys who were strung out on drugs and alcohol and stuck on the streets of the city. The money raised during the tournament will go to building a permanent home for the facility.

CABO SAN LUCAS, BCS -- Big hearts and the excitement of one of the best tournaments in the 10 years of the WON/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot helped produce an event record $27,002 for two local charities.

The Tuna Jackpot has been a longtime supporter of Los Ninos del Capitan and sponsors Reactor watches and Costa Del Mar sunglasses really stepped up the effort this time around with two fundraising events that spanned the tournament.

Scott Lipsett and Trey Jeffries of Reactor watches sponsored a raffle with a pair of their diamond watches worth $5,000 as the top prize, while the raffle also included a guided trip to Boca Grande Pass in Florida.

MICHAEL MENAS, shown here with Tracy Ehrenberg of the Pisces Fleet, bid a record $7500 for this David Wirth bronze. The entire proceeds went to Nuevo Creacion.

Anglers were encouraged to buy tickets throughout the event and the drawing was during the Friday night party. The last $100 in tickets were purchased by Dave Bulthuis of Costa Del Mar and his name was drawn for the fishing trip. He donated the trip right back and a quick auction saw Mark McDaniel of Broken Bow, Okla., step up as the highest bidder.

Tom Pianko, who earlier in the day had seen his 131-pound tuna blown off the leader board by the Reel Rum's 244 pounder, was the lucky winner of the watches.

At the awards ceremony Saturday night, Jeffries announced a total of $9,200 was raised for Los Niños del Capitan as a result of the raffle and auction.

JOHN DONOVAN of Reel Rum and Red Rum Charters in Cabo weighs in with a 244 and later kicked in $1,602 to charity.

"That's great, but next year our goal is $10,000," Trey told the crowd.

He was followed by Dave Bulthuis, whose Costa del Mar contingency award competition will pay $75,000 to anyone who beats the tournament record of 318 pounds while wearing the company's sunglasses. "This year's big fish shows there's a record fish out there," said Bulthuis. He then presented a $1,700 check to Los Niños that consisted of the entries.

A DOUBLE HOOKUP on 130-pound class yellowfin tuna didn't win any money for Tom Pianko, center, but that night he won a pair of diamond-studded Reactor watches in a charity raffle.

Patricia Barreda, director of the charity that provides help for single mothers and their children, teared up and pointed towards heaven.

Then WON's Marketing and Sales Director Chuck Buhagiar told the crowd that Tracy Ehrenberg had told him of another charity, Nuevo Creation.

Tracy brought Roberto Osuna and several boys up on stage and let him explain the charity as she translated into English.

Osuna and his wife have dedicated their lives into helping young boys who have become addicted to drugs and alcohol, taking them off the streets and into their home. Currently they provide 18 youngsters with a sober living environment. One young man described how Roberto had saved him from a life of drugs that began at 7 years old and thanked God for the change in his life.

A DOUBLE HOOKUP on 130-pound class yellowfin tuna didn't win any money for Tom Pianko, center, but that night he won a pair of diamond-studded Reactor watches in a charity raffle.

The emotional presentation set the stage for the auction of David Wirth's beautiful fired bronze of a feeding yellowfin tuna, which the artist had promised to customize to include fleeing baitfish of the purchaser's choice. Several bidders responded to Pat McDonell's auctioneering and the price pushed rapidly to $4,000. At that point it was apparent that two bidders were really intent on the piece -- Michael Menas, whose Bottom Line team had just won $271,346, and Judy Ostberg, who has compiled a collection of Wirth's art, including the piece auctioned at last year's event.

Menas was not to be deterred and when Ostberg stopped at $7000, won with a bid of $7400 that he told McDonell to round up to $7,500. While the auction took place, the youngsters "passed the hat" in the crowd and cash donations added another $3,700 to the total for Nuevo Creation.

LOS NINOS DEL CAPITAN was the beneficiary of several charitable efforts during the Tuna Jackpot. (Clockwise from above) Corona contributed $3,000 (and a photo op for Pat McDonell); Scott Lipsett, left, and Trey Jeffries,right, of Reactor provided $9200 thanks to a large donation by Mark McBride, pictured with Patricia Barreda; Dave Bulthuis of Costa Del Mar donated $1700, the proceeds from his contest.

Not long after, John Donovan of Redrum Charters was having his say after his Reel Rum team received their trophy and check for the biggest tuna in the Tuna Jackpot.

"The fellow from Reactor watches earlier said his goal was $10,000, so we're donating $801 to make his total $10,001," said Donovan. "We'll also give $801 to the other charter. The checks will be in our office tomorrow."

Finally, the Corona girls brought up a check for $3,000 for Los Ninos del Capitan and McDonell took advantage of the situation for a photo op and to thank everyone for their generosity.