The Mudfoot Riverbillies held their eighth annual carp-catching tournament Saturday, with entrants fishing the Raccoon River between U.S. Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 6.
By the end of the weigh-in period at 6 p.m., more than 500 pounds of fish had been caught. All fish were donated to the raptor-rehabilitation group, Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR).
Kay Neumann of SOAR drove over from Carroll County in the company of Thora, a bald eagle with impaired vision who often serves as SOAR’s educational bird.
Neumann said SOAR shelters between 50 and 60 birds at any one time. She said 265 injured birds have been admitted since January 1 at SOAR’s raptor rehabilitation facility near Manning.
“Almost all are suffering from lead poisoning,” Neumann said. “That’s by far the biggest threat to our bird populations. Habitat loss and water pollution do a lot of damage, but lead poisoning in the most immediate cause of death to our birds.”
Some 66 fisherfolk entered this year’s carp contest, according to one of the event’s organizers, Phyllis Manternach-Barr. Proceeds from ticket sales are split between the winning fishers and a cystic fibrosis charity.
A trophy awaited the fishing champion and three plaques awaited the winners the car show and contest, a new feature in the this year’s fundraiser.
Winners of the biggest fish and heaviest stringer competition were not immediately available, but Jamie Coghlan of Perry took first-place honors in the car show with his 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Second place went to Clem Serde of Norwalk with a 1969 Buick GS convertible, and third place was captured by Gary Kesserling of Norwalk with a 1959 Chevrolet El Camino.
Winning the Kid’s Pick was Matt Conrad of Perry with his 1971 Dodge Dart.
Numerous raffle items were awarded, including the grand prize: a flat bottom boat with motor and trailer. There were also door prizes and bake sale items available.
SOAR’s Neumann came to Perry with an eagle, but she left with a great horned owl as well thanks to quick action by Brad and Linda Bailey of Perry, who found the injured raptor on their back porch Saturday morning, trapped it and contacted Neumann, who coincidentally hapopened to be coming to Perry.