Annual bass rodeo at Lake Oliver raises donations to send kids to summer camp

Annual bass rodeo at Lake Oliver raises donations to send kids to summer camp

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A whole day out on the water at Lake Oliver, playing out on the marina has taken place for 48 years, ever since the Georgia-Alabama Bass Club decided to host the first local Bass Rodeo.

"It's always on the Saturday before Mother's Day," said long-time club member "Big Fish" Joe Waller.

"We've got people coming in from all over the area. Some are from Florida and  South Carolina. They come down here to visit parents and they wind up out here, fishing," he said.

Waller and the club said they've seen around 80 boats dock in and out of the lake throughout the day. Teams competing in the rodeo tried to find the biggest catch, reeling it in then weighing it. They hope they'll make it on the leaderboard. All fishermen are vying for a spot among the Top 10 and a shot at the top prize of $1,000.

Waller said this annual competition is about giving back to a community and a particular cause near and dear to the club's heart.

"We've always donated to the Valley Rescue Mission.  This is for sending underprivileged children to summer camp at Camp JOY," Waller said.

"The children that couldn't go, or didn't ever stand a chance to go, get the opportunity," he added.

The club's emphasis on helping local kids is made plain for all to see out on the lake because for Joe and the other sportsmen, fishing is a family affair.

"[We've seen] pre-teenagers, all the way up into the 70s and 80s," Waller said. "This is a good healthy sport for everybody. You can't go wrong coming out today on the lake fishing."

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