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Raising money for kids and having fun doing it

Two start boat trips on Cabo Escape, silent auction, Grand Raffle, all clothing sales and Costa gear sales all part of the fun ways we raise money for cleft palate surgeries for children of Baja through

Special to Western Outdoor News

CABO SAN LUCAS -- The WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot is not what you would call a "charity tournament" but it has always had an element of giving back to Cabo attached to each of its 20 years. We raised $28,000 last year. This year we are back at it, Nov. 6-9, raising money in a lot of fun ways to buy surgical supplies for the two Smiles clinics in Cabo.

THE SILENT AUCTION will conclude at the awards dinner, with jewelry, paintings, photography and a trip to Alaska's Kingfisher Lodge up for bids. Go to the Smiles booth to make an early bid.

Surgical supplies are critical, and must be purchased. Everything else is volunteered by medical personnel or donated.

The week-long Smiles surgical Clinic, of two held each year in Cabo -- is right before the tourney. Foundation directors and founders Maribel and Dr. Jeff Moses said the need is greater than ever as word of the clinic spreads, and the program has expanded this year to accept more children of Baja for surgeries and therapy.

JON PETTEY donated a SECOND tuna pendant for action. There is the 24 K gold, and a gold-plated silver version. Both ready to wear at the dinner as this auction winner did last year.

All personnel from doctors to nurses and technicians fly down on their own dime and use vacation time to work this clinic with local medical personnel and Cabo Rotary officials who help coordinate free hotel rooms for families, use of the local operating room and space to check in the families and schedule the surgeries. It's truly amazing work, and it changes lives. The Tuna Jackpot raised $26,000 last year and we will beat that number this year.

The ways we raise money?

- The Costa start boat charters on Cabo Escape. Remember, every dime of the $30 of the per-day ticket (about 250 tickets over two days are sold for the two start boat rides to the Famous Arch 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.) goes to Smiles.

- We sell $10,000 Grand Raffle tickets ($5, $20 for 5) all four days and one person wins $10,000 in sponsors tackle and Hotel Tesoro room stays. There's a prize list at check-in and it will expand.

- People can donate cash at the Smiles booth, and many do.

DRAWING PRIZES are Costa sunglasses and they are part of the fun of the two Costa start boat charters hoisted by the fabulous Cabo Escape, donated for the event and Smiles by Wild Tours, the premier tour and transportation company in Cabo.

- Clothing. This year all proceeds of official event clothing (men's shirts, CTJ event logo/Cabo landscape design buffs (new this year) and extra team flags) sold by Minerva Smith of Minerva's Tackle goes to Smiles. She does this every year! Last year she donated $5,000. Help her break that record donation! Minerva and her staff will be selling first at the check-in area in their booth next to Costa's, which will be selling start boat charter tickets and a variety of accessories for "whatever" you can pay. It's fun and it's cool stuff.

ENTER TO WIN THESE and more drawings prizes in the Grand Raffle. Tickets are $5 or 5 for $20 with all money going to Smiles.

- And we have a silent auction at the awards and this year in addition to TWO Jon Pettey Goldsmith solid gold (1) and gold-plated silver (1) tuna pendants and one 4-day stay for one person at Kingfisher lodge in Sitka there will be a magnificent custom framed double tuna/marlin Chuck Byron original painting and there is also a Bill Boyce 3 by 4 foot photograph canvas print, and these items will be displayed at check-in for early bids, which is new, so you won't be rushed at the awards dinner Saturday.

If you have not fished this event, you should get down and do it. All the details about it are at

THIS CHUCK BYRON DOUBLE original painting, professionally matted and custom framed, is from a private collection and will be up for silent auction bids at check in and the awards dinner.

SMILESINTERNATIONALFOUNDATION.ORG hosts two clinics in Cabo each year. This year the clinic is held the end of October.

GET YOUR RESERVATIONS in for the Hotel Tesoro, the premier hotel for the tourney that is offering special rates and breakfast during your stay. See more at and click on the Tesoro ad and use the code.