Tournament a fitting tributePublished 11:49am Thursday, May 1, 2014
One of Russellville resident Casey Stockton’s favorite things to do was head out with a rod and reel and spend several quality hours doing something he loved – fishing.
Stockton was an avid fisherman and a member of the Belgreen Bass Club and because of his love for the sport of fishing and of the club, Stockton developed many friends who shared his passion for casting a line and reeling in a big catch.
When Stockton passed away suddenly on Dec. 2, 2012, those who knew how much he loved to fish eventually came up with a fitting tribute for their friend, which will become a reality in a few short weeks.
The First Annual Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship Bass Tournament will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014, from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Cedar Creek Lake’s Slick Rock Boat Ramp.
Stockton’s mother, Lisa Stockton, said the tournament will serve as a way to raise funds for the memorial scholarship that was established shortly after Casey’s death as a way to honor his memory in the years to come.
“When Casey passed away, we asked that people make donations to the scholarship in lieu of flowers because we knew that the flowers would fade away but a scholarship would be a way for us to keep Casey’s memory alive and to help a student pay for their college education,” Lisa Stockton said.
“As a parent of a child who has passed away, you never want people to forget your child. For us, we felt that this would be a great way to keep his memory alive and to be able to help someone else.”
After initial donations were given and used for the first scholarship that was given out to Russellville High School student Jackson Smith, who graduated last year, the Stocktons knew they would have to come up with a way to make sure the scholarship was funded each year.
But Lisa Stockton said her son’s friends in the Belgreen Bass Club were already a step ahead.
“The Belgreen Bass Club was actually the ones who came to us last year and told us they wanted to have a tournament each year to honor Casey’s memory and to help fund the scholarship,” Lisa Stockton said.
“He loved the guys that were in the bass club. They were like a second family to him. He would come home on the nights they had their meetings and talk to us for hours about all that happened.
“It meant the world to us when they told us they were going to do this. Casey would be thrilled that they are having this tournament. Casey loved to fish and he loved the lakes in Franklin County. When he was a little boy we would ask what he wanted to do for a career when he got older and he always told us ‘I want to be a professional fisherman or to work at Mossy Oak as a hunting guide.’”
Catlin Stults, who is a member of the Belgreen Bass Club and was one of Casey’s close friends, said he couldn’t think of a better way to honor the memory of his friend.
“Casey loved fishing, and he and I spent countless hours together on the water,” Stults said.
“We fished a lot of the local tournaments that benefit different causes, like the Belgreen Bulldogs Tournament and the Relay For Life Tournament, and anyone who has ever fished those tournaments will always remember Casey. He always brought a smile to the face of everyone around him, so I couldn’t imagine a better way to raise money in his honor than to do something he would have joyfully participated in like this tournament.”
This year, Lisa Stockton said they planned to give away two scholarships with the funds they raise from the tournament – one for a Russellville High School senior who participates in any type of athletic activity; and one for a Franklin County senior who is a member of the bass fishing club at their respective school.
“We felt that since the Belgreen Bass Club was one of the driving forces of the bass tournament, it would be great to give away another scholarship to a Franklin county student who was a member of their school’s fishing team.”
Moving forward, Lisa Stockton said she hoped the tournament in memory of her son would continue to grow over the years and the scholarships would increase.
“We hope that this scholarship will be a tool that allows someone to fulfill their goal of going to college and living their life to the fullest,” she said.
“It is also our hope that the student who receives this scholarship will use it to make a difference in the community they call home and will always be willing to pay it forward when they have a chance to make a difference.”
Entry fee for the First Annual Casey Stockton Memorial Scholarship Bass Tournament is $50 per boat. Prize money will be awarded as follows: First place – $500; second place – $250; third place – $150; fourth place – $100; fifth place – $50; lunker – $200.
For complete tournament rules or to obtain an entry form, contact Ronnie Wray at 256-627-8898. Entry forms will be taken by mail or at the ramp the morning of the tournament.