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Toyota ShareLunker 500 Angler Donates Winnings to Make-a-Wish Foundation
ATHENS—A big bass caught from O.H. Ivie Reservoir on April 9 is going to make a dream come true for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
Angler Sam Callaway of Corpus Christi was fishing in the Permian Basin Oilman’s Invitational bass tournament when he caught the 13.34-pound fish. Only when he weighed it in did he discover he had caught Toyota ShareLunker No. 500.
And then he learned that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation was paying $500 per pound to the angler who caught the fish.
Since the purpose of the annual tournament for the last 16 years has been to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Callaway had fished every one of those tournaments, it didn’t take long for him to decide what to do with the $6,670 check he received: Make a child happy.
At the annual ShareLunker Banquet held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens June 5, Callaway formally presented the check to Scotty Landry, president and CEO of the North Texas Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“The average cost of granting a wish is about $7,000,” Landry said in accepting the donation. “This money will make a child’s dream come true.”
Callaway received a standing ovation from the approximately 300 people in attendance.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current program activities as well as short videos of interviews with anglers, is at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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