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POML bass tournament raises money for church’s youth group

NATCHEZ — The Pentecostals of the Miss-Lou parking lot was crowded with spectators Saturday afternoon chowing down on fried fish dinners while they watched anglers step up to the stage to weigh their catches.

POML hosted its second bass tournament Saturday, and although the number of anglers was not what they had hoped for, the turnout at the weigh-in was a success, associate pastor Jeremy Howington said.

“We’d like to see more entrants,” Howington said. “We had nine teams, but we had more that promised they were coming.”

Howington said other tournaments in the area and competing with Relay for Life were a couple of reasons he thought the entries were low.

But Howington said POML accomplished its main goal, which was to help its youth group.

“We had a lot of young people come out and help all day, and that’s really why we’re doing this,” he said.

Howington said money raised by the tournament would go toward funding a summer retreat for the youth group.

Nine-year-old Auston Bruce of Vidalia was one of the participants in the tournament, and although none of his catches were big enough to make the weigh-in, he said he had a good time fishing in the tournament with his father, John.

“It’s fun just catching the fish,” Auston said about fishing in tournaments.

John said this was their second time to fish in the POML tournament.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “We’re having a great time.”

Jerry and Garrett Blanchard of Lake St. John were another father-son duo to take on the POML tournament.

Jerry said he was impressed with the way POML put on a weigh-in with all the bells and whistles.

“They made everything up nice,” he said.

Jerry said he has family that attends POML, and he was happy to come out and help the youth group.

“That’s the main thing,” he said. “It’s good to have them here raising money instead of out getting in trouble.”

The honor of champions ended up going home to a couple of brothers, instead of one of the many father and son combinations.

Vidalia’s Chad and Sean Maples caught a total of 15.6 pounds of bass with the largest single bass of 4.12 pounds.

“We did pretty good,” Sean said about their day. “We have a lot of friends and family that go to church here. We fish a lot of tournaments, and it’s good to fish together.”

Kathy Howington, wife of pastor Gary, said she enjoyed being a part of the weigh-in and enjoying the company of the community.

“It’s fun,” she said. “We make a family event out of it.”

Kathy said the church always wants to do what it can to help the youth group.

“They are the lifeblood for the next generation,” she said. “We try to help every way we can to support.

“It’s nice to get together and get everybody working on a project together.”

Jeremy said he was happy with Saturday’s results.

“It was a lot of fun and good fellowship — even if we didn’t’ have as many people out for the fishing part.”