The Woody Foundation’s 3rd Annual Lionfish Bash at Bimini Sands Nets 338 Invasive Fish and Raises $28,000 to Aid Spinal Injury Patients
South Bimini, Bahamas – July 24, 2013 – Bimini Sands Resort & Marina is delighted to announce the results of The Woody Foundation’s 3rd Annual Lionfish Bash, held at the resort on July 12-14, 2013. This fun family spearfishing event was created in 2011 to raise awareness about and to help eradicate lionfish, an invasive species in the Bahamas/Florida ocean ecosystem.
This year’s Lionfish Bash raised approximately $28,000 for The Woody Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to aid in the recovery of people with spinal injuries. The foundation will donate a portion of the proceeds from the 2013 Lionfish Bash to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital in Miami, which is known for its innovative therapeutic programs for spinal injury patients.
The total number of lionfish caught during this year’s tournament was an impressive 338 – and none of the fish were wasted. After receiving instructions from the Bimini Sands staff in how to safely handle lionfish, the participants fileted their catch, and Chef Edison of the resort’s Bimini Twist restaurant prepared it as a delicious dish for the Lionfish Bash Awards Banquet on Saturday. Some of the leftover lionfish were used as shark food the next day, when the Bimini Sands Activities Center took tournament participants on its popular Shark Encounter.
Over the past three years, the Lionfish Bash has removed more than 1,000 lionfish from the waters around Bimini, and has raised more than $70,000 for The Woody Foundation.
Fears that Tropical Storm Chantal would disrupt the Lionfish Bash proved unfounded, and the weather improved just in time for the spearfishing competition. This year’s tournament saw several records broken, including the largest lionfish taken in the tournament’s three-year history: a monster weighing in at 38.65 oz. (2.42 lbs.), caught by CJ Crooks, media manager of the Bimini Biological Field Station (Sharklab). Team G&R, which won the competition for the second year in a row, also shattered its 2012 record catch of 143 fish with a 2013 total of 207 lionfish.
- 1st Place for Most Lionfish (207): Team G&R (shown at left) – Andres Penate, Carmen Penate, Susana Airala, Iggy Bustamente, Gabriela Alvarez, Alfredo Alvarez
- 2nd Place for Most Lionfish (79): Team Sharklab (CJ Crooks, Lindsay Biermann, TJ Ostendorf, George Davis, Antonia Pascale Ash, Clement Chazot)
- Biggest Lionfish (38.65 oz.): CJ Crooks, Team Sharklab
- Biggest Lionfish/Junior Division (27.95 oz.): Gabriela Alvarez, age 11, Team G&R.
- Smallest Lionfish (0.033 oz.): CJ Crooks, Team Sharklab.
In addition to an exhilarating day of spearfishing and a festive Awards Banquet, the 3rd Annual Lionfish Bash received an inspirational visit from Woody Beckham. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The Woody Foundation was organized in 2011 after Woody, sustained a spinal cord injury at age 22 in a college rugby match that rendered him paralyzed from the chest down.
“The Third Annual Lionfish Bash was yet again an incredible adventure at the paradise that is Bimini Sands Resort,” said Woody (shown at left with his father, Bill Beckham, at the banquet).
“The combination of helping the environment and supporting an impactful cause during a weekend filled with family and fun creates an amazing event. The overwhelming support from sponsors, family and friends makes the event so much more than just another fishing tournament. It has created a small community coming together year after year for a greater cause.”
Along with Bimini Sands Resort & Marina, sponsors of the 2013 Lionfish Bash included: Brown & Brown Marine Insurance – Ft. Lauderdale Division, Dade Medical College, the Beckham Family, Homer Family Foundation, Gulliver Schools, Goldsmith, PA, Will Beckham IV, Ted & Mary Arbuckle, The Slick Family, AB Risk Specialist, Hold Fast Foundation, KBM & Company, Tropical Tile & Marble, Tampa Family, Zookeeper, and Sea Stinger.
“Congratulations to The Woody Foundation on another highly successful Lionfish Bash,” said Bimini Sands President and CEO Frank Cooney. “Despite challenging weather conditions, everyone had a lot of fun. It feels good to be able to host a fun family event for such a great cause every year.”
About Bimini Sands
Located just 50 miles from Miami on the Bahamas gateway island of South Bimini, this year-round resort features luxury one- and two-plus-bedroom villas with beach or marina views; a full-service marina accommodating boats up to 100 feet; the new Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center; three freshwater swimming pools, including an Infinity Pool overlooking the Gulf Stream; upscale dining—along with the island’s only sushi bar—and a full suite of eco-adventure water-sports activities. Minutes from Bimini International Airport with service to Florida and Nassau, Bimini Sands’ idyllic location offers spectacular views of Bimini’s luminous blue waters, sunsets over the Gulf Stream, coral reefs, and a secluded ocean beach just steps from your door. Family-owned and operated for more than 15 years, Bimini Sands Resort & Marina is one of the Bahamas’ best-rated family vacation destinations. For more information, visit www.biminisands.com and www.biminiscubacenter.com.
About The Woody Foundation
The Woody Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization formed in 2011 to raise funds for the recovery of people with spinal cord injuries. The namesake of The Foundation – James “Woody” Beckham – suffered his spinal cord injury while playing rugby with his college club team in January 2011. His family and friends have bonded together to support Woody by making donations to local charities that help others with similar spinal cord injuries. For more information, visit www.woodyfoundation.org.
Turnkey Communications & PR, Inc.