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Giving back, but having a great time doing it!


Nine days in Cabo, and it's back to reality, which is not so bad. And I can look back at the Cabo Tuna Jackpot's success with a source of pride. Not just because we had the best fishing in its history, with 11 fish over 200 pounds, great weather and no controversy.


Assistant director Mike Packard poses with the children from the La Paz-based orphanage at the weigh-in after they went on a shoe-buying trip in Cabo that day. They would attend the awards banquet the next night. $20,000 was raised over four days for two children's charities with the help of Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing who are seen here at the awards on stage with the children.

It's also that a lot of people gave of themselves for charity and the children of Southern Baja.

Charity has always been a part of the tournament during its 14 years. In the past, in its early years, a piece of original artwork from Chuck Byron, J. Peters gallery and David Wirth were auctioned off, as well as gold pieces by Jon Peters from Minerva Smith, IGFA rep and owner of Minerva's Sportfishing in Cabo. We'd garner about five grand, and it was pretty cool to help kid's charities.

Like the event, charity efforts evolve. Sponsors like Dave Bulthuis of Costa and locals Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing came up with ideas, and donations of trips were added to increase the amounts for two children's Baja charities.

These efforts are not just "begging" for money. We make it a fun aspect of the event, and it's all voluntary.


Assistant director Mike Packard poses with the children from the La Paz-based orphanage at the weigh-in after they went on a shoe-buying trip in Cabo that day. They would attend the awards banquet the next night. $20,000 was raised over four days for two children's charities with the help of Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing who are seen here at the awards on stage with the children.

This year there were a number of efforts that combined for the charity total that went to a La-Paz-based orphanage and a Cabo day care center for single working mothers in Cabo, Los Ninos Del Capitan.

- Costa Tequila Bingo at the Friday night Fiesta: $10 a card, and $2,000 worth of cards were purchased.

- Dave Bulthuis was at his Costa Sunglasses check-in booth and had a 50/50 drawing, enticing people with company hats and shirts to pay in at $50, and $3,000 was in the pot and $1,500 was donated.

- Wyndham Hotel Start Boat Charter: $10 tickets were bought by about 100 people who were not fishing to attend a catered Friday run of the start boat Cabo Escape, the official start boat. Hats by new sponsor Bluefin clothing in Florida were given to each person as they boarded, and a drawing was held for the right to shoot the flare gun and another drawing to win a pair of Costas. Raised $1,000. Wyndham kicked in $750 for catering and Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg who own Capt. Tony's Restaurant, heavily discounted the catering for the 100 attendees and staff. The tour boat Cabo Escape donated the charter.


A second day Wyndham charter on the Cabo Escape tour ship, the official start boat for the tournament, was a charity event, sponsored by Whyndham Cabo San Lucas Resort and catered by Capt, Tony's Restaurant. Spouses, friends, supporters, were invited on the morning charter on Friday, and more than $1,000 was raised by charging a small attendance fee,and the spouses of Team Trauma, dressed like nurses, helped shoot the flare gun off the send the boats on their way.

- No one was in the audience at the awards for a Super Seeker rod/Avet 50W combo, so after two drawings I figured, oh what the hell, and auctioned it off for $800. Cha-ching!

- The biggest charity effort, which went on all four days, was the Grand Prize Drawing, $10,000 worth of stuff (four of all sponsors prizes) that earned about $10,000 in $5 tickets. Pretty crazy.

- And finally, Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing kicked in two days of fishing and a four-night stay at the luxury Hacienda suites (donated by friends of theirs) to be auctioned off, and the package went for about $7,500.

Totaled up, the efforts over four days raised just over $20,000. Nice.

Pat McDonell is Editor of WON and director of the Cabo Tuna Jackpot. He can be reached at pat@wonews.com.