On June 25, 2017, The RI Lions Sight
Foundation (RILSF) hosted our 10th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament
Visually Impaired Persons (VIP’s) of Rhode Island
on a chartered party boat out of Galilee RI. A great time was had by all and
we thank of you that participated. and provided support.
2017 RILSF VIP Fishing Tournament Report
Fellow Lions and VIP Tournament Supporters & Participants, this year we held
our 10th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament. All participants were in good
spirits. The weather was great, with a light wind and the catch was better
than last year. The guides and volunteers did a great job helping the VIP’s
and Captain Mike & the Crew of the “Admiral Frances” were very responsive &
professional as usual.
This year we had a total of 99 applicants, a “banner’ year, but we were
restricted to 0 on board due to the limited availability of boats. The fleet
was dry-docked thisyear for maintenance and refinishing but, due to the very
wet spring, the boatyard could not paint on schedule so our usual boat, the
large “Lady Frances”, was notready in time. However, due to the generosity
of some VIP’s volunteering their spot,and the usual attrition that occurs,
we were able to meet the capacity restriction with41 VIPs and 39 Guides &
Volunteers that represented all four corners of the Rhode Island.
The scoring method used is a point system in which “Keeper” Fluke are worth
5 points, “non-Keepers” are 3 points and any “Other” species is worth 2
points. The total catch by the VIPs’ was 82 fish which included quite a few
Fluke but only 2 “keepers” and as was the case last year, the Black Sea Bass
was the most
frequently caught fish and included several keepers. (Capt. Mike indicated
that this appears to be an ongoing trend) Therefore, we will likely add a
category for this next year to liven up the scoring as there were some very
impressive Sea Bass that only earned 2 points.
We then held an Awards Luncheon at Pancho O’Malley’s in Narragansett and,
after a great buffet and a free raffle for the VIP’s, we announced the
1st Place (8 fish/19 pts) – Jodie Authelete of
Warwick.(1st time participant and veteran camper and counselor of Camp
Machetea, our Summer Camp for visually impaired kids)
2nd Place (5/13 pts) – George O’Keefe of Greenville.
(His 2nd win in his 2 years of participation)
3rd Place (3/9 pts) – Lori Gober of Pawtucket. (National
VIP participant in 2014)
4th Place (5/11pts) – Richard O’Neill of Scituate. (1st
5th Place (4/11pts) – Ed DeSourcy of Pawtucket. (2nd
Alternate) Rhode Island Lion's Sight Foundation, Inc
These VIPs’ and their Guides will represent Rhode Island at the Lions
National VIP Fishing Tournament being held October 16-18 on the Outer
Banks of North Carolina.Details can be found at:
On behalf of the RI Lions Sight Foundation, the VIP Tourney Team, and
the VIP’s, we want to thank the contributing RI Lions Clubs, Individual
Donors, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Foster Grant (Sunglasses for all) for
their support of this event and to the Frances Fleet and Pancho
O’Malley’s for treating us so well. We look forward to your continued
participation and support in 2018!
VIP Fishing Tournament
More photos to follow
VIP Fishing Tournament
great article on last years tourney that appeared in the July edition of
the South County Life Magazine. It was written by their reporter William
Geoghegan who really captured the essence of the event, despite all of
the seasickness that surrounded him.
2016 RILSF VIP Fishing Tournament Participants
2016 RI VIP Tourney Winners
1st Place - Janice Musco, 2nd Place – Rob Sousa, 3rd Place – George
O’Keefe (Side Pic)
2016 National VIP Fishing Tournament Report
October 27, 2016
Fellow Lions, VIP’s and supporters of the VIP Tournaments
I am pleased to report that the New England VIP Fishing Team has safely returned
from a great trip to the National VIP Fishing Tournament on the Outer Banks of
We did feel the effects of Hurricane Matthew in the form of reduced overall
attendance and in the waters of Oregon Inlet where our 1st day of fishing takes
place. The waters were brown, fish and other wildlife were very scarce and, even
though the boat captain went to places that we’ve not been in all the years
we’ve attended, we still had only 4 fish. As we neared the end of the day, he
took us back to the marina, tied off away from the dock and the VIP’s caught
more fish than they had in the previous 5 hours.
The New England VIP Tournament, which consisted of CT, MA & RI, awards 1st, 2nd
and 3rd place trophies and there is a Perpetual Plaque that is awarded to the
District Governor of the winning state. This year’s winner is the Massachusetts
Team won 1st place and Rhode Island took 2nd & 3rd place. The plaque is
typically presented at a NE District Governors meeting.
The National Tournament is on Wednesday on the state-of-the-art Jennette’s Pier
and this year there were participants from as far away as Georgia and Canada.
Most fish are small Spots and Pinfish that will fit in your hand but they are
exciting for the VIP’s to catch, and thankfully, with the catch & release
points-by-species scoring system used, size doesn’t matter. Compared to last
year the fishing was also slow on the pier and as a result the competition was
Even though, the New England team did not win a National trophy this year,
everyone still had a great time experiencing the event and meeting other
participants. The organizers, participants, and especially Bob & Dee
Christensen, continue to live up to their reputation for amazing Southern
This years’ RI participants were:
Janice Musco, Lincoln - 3rd place winner of the NE Tourney and 4-time National
Rob Sanchas, Warren - 3rd place winner of the NE Tourney
Donny Rego - West Warwick
The Winner of the New England Lions VIP Tournament was Joe Bonardi of Worcester,
There were also special VIP Ambassador Awards presented to those who have had a
significant impact on the VIP Fishing program and I had the privilege of
presenting them to;
PDG Dom Branco on behalf of the RILSF for his assistance over the years with
promoting this event in RI and with the DG’s of New England.
Lion Don Hayden on behalf of the Scituate Lions for his contributions to the RI
VIP Tournament and for his avid support of the VIP Fishing program.
This was our 3rd year travelling by bus which provides the opportunity for
everyone to meet and interact before the tournaments. Our fellow group leaders
from CT & MA are tremendous to work with and are very helpful in putting this
trip together and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the help that they
provide. The ride on the DATTCO bus was again made especially enjoyable by the
service, enthusiasm and care for the VIPs shown by our driver Hector Medina who
also helps on the boat and pier. It is especially gratifying to witness the
VIPs’ and Guides get excited, laugh, learn, and gain self-confidence in a new
environment, and especially, to become such good friends with each other.
On behalf of the New England Lions VIP Fishing Team, I want to express our
appreciation for the contribution from the Pabst Blue Ribbon Northeastern
Fishing Tournament which helps with the cost of the bus and we look forward to
their continued support.
Also, I want to thank the RILSF, the Dist. 42 Lions Clubs, and individual Lions,
especially Bill Hawkins, for his support in providing this extraordinary
opportunity for the VIP’s to grow stronger, improve their lives and represent
the Lions of RI District 42.
Yours in Lionism,
Lion Ken Barthelemy, Tournament Chair