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Bass tournament to benefit Barlow VFD

Dine-in sales and bass tournaments are some of the ways local volunteer fire departments are raising money this summer.

Mark Wile, president of the Washington County Fire Chief’s Association, said the coronavirus has put a damper on every department’s budget. Having to buy extra safety supplies is “kind of a double whammy.”

“I think there are some departments having giveaways or raffles to raise money,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to get creative and each department has their own way to do it. Other departments are just taking the hit on the chin and hoping next year is better.”

Wile, who is also the fire chief of the Warren Township VFD, said his department hasn’t done anything yet in the way of fund raising, although they have discussed their options. He noted a few weeks ago that $1,500 in donations came in to his department to help with operating costs.

“We’re watching our spending and making sure we use it as wisely as we can,” he explained. “We’re holding off on expenditures and hoping for the best.”

Mike and Lisa Walsh, owners of Over the Moon Pub and Pizza in Marietta, said 20 percent of dine-in sales every Friday, with the exception of the First Fridays events, will benefit a different department. This Friday, sales from 11:30 a.m. to close will benefit the Reno VFD.

Mike said the donations are to help replace the ice cream socials held every summer to fund the fire departments’ operating costs.

“The owner, Lisa Walsh, wanted to do something for the volunteer fire department since none of us could have our fundraisers,” said Reno VFD Chief Dan Ritchey. “She picked us to be the first department to try it. I think it’s a pretty nice gesture to do that.”

Mike Walsh noted they also have 15 percent discounts every Hero Tuesday on purchases of $25 or more for active or retired military, police officers, firefighters or medical professionals.

“We wanted to give back to them as well,” he said.

Instead of its summer fundraiser, the Barlow VFD decided to hold a bass fishing tournament on Sept. 5.

“This is the first time we’re going to try this,” said EMS Chief Emily Seaman. “We were trying to find ways to raise money that doesn’t involve food.”

Registration will be from 5:15 to 6:45 a.m. the day of the tournament, with an entry fee of $50 per boat. Boats will be checked in at the Belpre boat ramp.

“Boats will launch at 7 a.m. and it will end around 3 p.m.,” Seaman said.

She said anglers can fish anywhere on the Ohio River, but not behind the long walls at each dam.

“It is open to go as far as they want to, but they have to be back on time or be disqualified,” she added.

The tournament is based on a team entry format with the original two signers considered a permanent team. Both the boater and partner must have a valid Ohio or West Virginia fishing license.

Tournament rules include having a manufacturer’s built-in operating live well, and that all angling must be done from the boat. Boats must remain in the water during the tournament hours, and once a boat has been trailered, it cannot be towed to another location to continue fishing.

The limit is five fish per boat, with only small mouth, large mouth or spotted bass weighed. The minimum fish length must be 12 inches.

Seaman said through local sponsors, at least $1,000 is guaranteed to the first-place winner.

“The payout depends on the number of boats that show up,” she said. “It it increased depending on the number of boats we get in. We’re hoping for a big turnout, depending on the weather.”

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