Local Eighth Grader Hosting Third Annual Casting Lures For Cures
by James Coulter
Clayton Keene loves to fish. He also loves helping people out. So he combined both passions to start his bass fishing tournament, Casting Lures for Cures.
The third annual tournament will be hosted at Guy Harvey Camp Mack River Resort in Lake Wales on Sat., May 1. Check-in will begin at 5 am, and the event will conclude with the weigh-in at 2 pm. Entry fees are $20 for Big Bass and $60 for a two-man team. Raffles will also be held throughout the day.
Keene initially started the event as a school project. His humanities teacher wanted his class to think of a concept for a community project. Since Keene loved to fish, he wanted to create something that would combine his love of fishing with helping the community, which is how he started Casting Lures For Cures.
Proceeds from the event go toward the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization, which, according to its website, “dedicated to research and clinical trials to find less toxic, more effective treatments for childhood cancer.”
Keene decided to raise money for cancer awareness due to his close friend, James Brown, who had pediatric cancer as a child. When setting up his tournament three years ago, he sat down with Brown and discussed potential recipients for their proceeds. The two of them settled on the foundation.
He especially appreciates the organization for its own tournaments that it hosts. Even amidst these uncertain times, the foundation has proven creative by hosting a virtual fishing tournament, the Virtual All American Fishing Tournament. Such a dedicated organization that remains adamant about raising awareness is an excellent recipient, Keene said.
“I really wanted to help an organization that really needed help, and [that] also did a lot for the people,” he said. “That is why we chose the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, because they do so much for the people and their families. They really want to help the family and the kids, and they do a lot in the community as well.”
Over the past two years, since the tournament first started, the event has raised a total of $12,000. The turnout has also proven exceptional, with many people, including his own school, willing to attend year after year, Keene said.
“It was such a success the first year that we continued it each year,” he said. “They really do love to see that, the kids getting involved in the community, and that has made them happy. They wanted to keep doing it so it is not just a one-year project. That is the main thing. They are happy that I continued it.”
This year, Keene is expecting an exceptional turnout as always. Even amid these uncertain times, he knows that people will turn out to fish and assist for a good cause.
“I am really hoping for a big boater turnout,” he said. “On the Kissimmee Chain, the bass are starting to fire up, and that bite is starting to turn on, so there will be big bags to weigh in.”
The Third Annual Casting Lures For Cures will be hosted on Sat., May 1, from 5am to 2pm, at Camp Mack, located at 14900 Camp Mack Rd, Lake Wales, FL 33898. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.castingluresforcures.com/