|The 2017 Blanton BBQ & Striperfest was another terrific event. The weather could not have been better. Dan and Cindy looked happy and healthy. Specifically, Dan looked great with his new svelte frame. Wanda was amazing. She shared some of her inspirational life stories with us. She is a gifted speaker and obviously a very sweet person. Noel and team Striperfest were totally dialed in on all aspects. The registration process is always hectic for me. Thank god for John Ryzanych and my wife, Julie. They're natural's at that sort of stuff. John and I have been the check in team for several years running now. Thank you for being there John. Thank you too, Julie. |
Of course, I often miss spending any quality time with my pals as things get a little busy at sign ins. We hung out in the back of the room with John Ryzanych, Ric Rudgers, John Sherman, Bryce Tedford and Sammy Yee. Fun stuff guys.
A very big thank you goes to Tracy Venable, David Riggs and the Sugar Barge Staff. The food, service and schedule they managed was superb. I heard nothing but positive feedback. Thank you Tracy, David and Sugar Barge! I think the new start time of 2pm worked great for most. It was nice to have some light once things ended.
The raffle was a huge success, as usual. Noel, Jay Remley and the entire raffle gang moved through the process very efficiently. Thank you to Ric Rudgers for sharing some insights with us on how to spice up the raffle. I think the new twists were a big hit with all. Of course, none of this could happen if it was not for our long standing, amazing, loyal donors. Some have been supporting this event for 20 years and we are all so grateful. Specifically, I had a heck of a raffle rally this year and I would like to thank the following great folks:
David Lentz, Far Bank (Sage Rods): Thank you so much for my new Sage 890 4 Salt hd rod! I took out of the tube today to look at it in the sunshine and it is a masterpiece. I can't wait to fish it. All the guys were going nuts about it. From my friends that own it, I know it one very special rod. Thank you David!
Stirling Tyler, Montana Fly Company: Thank you! As a long time trout nut, I was thrilled. The incredible selection of flies, including. Galloup's BWO Emergers, Galloup's BH Peacock Hare's Ears, The Ray Charles (the famous Sow Bug Pattern they use in Montana), Gerath's Curb Feeler Fly (Steelhead skater fly) and more. I plan to put share some of these with one of my best buds who just retired and moved to Bozeman. He will be impressed.
John Quigley, Big Game Twisted Leaders: Thank you John. John knows I am already a big customer and fan of his twisted leaders and furled leaders. Great products! Thank you so much John for your long time support of the Striperfest. You and Julie were missed this year. We will see you next year for sure.
Ben Byng Flies: Ben ties beautiful flies and I was thrilled to add them to my current Cliff's Bugger Beast box. I had a Ben Byng rattle-less Clouser on all day Sunday and the Stripers loved it. Thank you for supporting the Striperfest for all these years, Ben.
Casey Rolig, Buff USA: I started using Buff products about 7 years ago and absolutely love them. I wanted to keep that darn sun off my face and neck to keep the dermatologist far away from me. On a side note, I still have a job and showing up at meetings looking like a Florida Everglades guide was not my bag. Now I can sneak away and fish weekdays and nobody knows the difference! I can't wait to add the arm sleeves to my bag. Thank you for your support of the Striperfest, Casey!
Ted Juracsik, Tibor Signature Series 7/8: Obviously, this is one of most highly coveted prizes of the Striperfest and I was the lucky winner this year. Thank you Ted! Also, this is my second Tibor reel from you. About 12 years ago at the Striperfest, I was the lucky recipient of my first Tibor reel. That same reel has been my main Delta reel ever since. It has been attached to an old Winston IBUS 9 for all these years. In fact, that reel has a famous story attached to it. Briefly, about 12 years ago, it took flight out of our of Panga in Loreto attached to a large, angry Black Skipjack. Lo and behold, about three hours later, another captain in aPanga shows up with it in their boat. The found it attached to the tail of another Black Skipjack that our good friend, Binky, had hooked and landed. Yep, that's two Skipjack on one cast. True story, ask Binky!
Alex Ramirez, Rio Striper Line: Thank you so much for a brand new Rio Striper Line. I have a perfect home this line and it will be in the game within the month.
Matt Cassel and Jeff Currier, Cliff's Bugger Beast: Thank you Matt and Jeff for the beautiful box and Striper sketch! This is my second Cliff's Bugger Box from the Striperfest. The first is outfitted with all my favorite Delta flies tied by some talented folks. In it are flies from Charlie Bisharat, Steve Cali, Dan Blanton, Dave Sellers, Ben Byng, Bob Arwine and more. Your boxes are beautiful products. Thank you!
Simon Gawesworth, Rio In Touch Striper Line: Thank you Simon. I think this might have been my fourth Rio line from you during the past 10 to 15 years. Thank you for your loyal support of this event for many, many years. Your fabulous lines play a major role in my fishing pursuits. We all appreciate your support!
Jeff Patterson, Abel Automatics, Abel Sup #7: I am thrilled to own my first Abel Reel. Thank you Jeff! It is an absolute beauty. I have the perfect rod and line to outfit it. I hope to have something fishy test the drag out before year end. Thank you again for all your support!
That's the story. I love being involved with the Striperfest. Over time, all of the generous donations from all of you wonderful people has had a positive impact in the name of conservation for the beautiful, amazing, ever-changing California Delta.
We look forward to seeing you all next year.