April 2010

2010 Shell Key West Challenge Celebrates Record Catches

Anglers competing in the 2010 Shell Key West Challenge enjoyed outstanding fishing and the most heated competition in the charity tournament’s 22-year history. When committee boat chairman Findlay Sinclair announced “lines out of the water” at 3:30 PM on Saturday, April 24th, only 10 points separated the top two teams. At the awards ceremony later that evening, tournament officials congratulated the first and second place winners for their remarkable scores of 1005 and 995 points. The unique scoring system awards points for 15 different species of fish that can be caught in the waters surrounding Key West, and to score 1,000 points during the tournament is considered an almost impossible feat. In all, twenty-nine teams competed and more than 180 anglers and guests helped the Shell Key West Challenge raise more than $60,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).
Based out of the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, the DRI is an internationally acclaimed research facility using cutting-edge technology to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Since its inception in 1989 the Shell Key West Challenge has contributed more than $2 million to charity, with $300,000 going to the DRI in the past few years.
The Houston-based Shell Lubricants team of Rick Papso, James Kubecka, Kyle Papso, and Ray Loftin took top honors in the 2010 Challenge. Fishing aboard the Wild Bill, the team scored 1005 points, caught and released three sailfish and boated dozens of other target species including the largest cobia, grouper, and wahoo of the tournament. This is the fifth time that Rick Papso has fished the Shell Key West Challenge and the second time he’s been on the winning team. All four anglers are avid light-tackle saltwater fishermen, usually pursuing speckled trout and redfish in the shallow waters of the gulf; so the opportunity to fish both offshore and on the reef was a special treat for them. “We started day two in the lead but knew we had fallen behind as others were catching sails before we did,” stated Rick Papso. “In the last 30 minutes, Kyle landed a 25# dolphin and then James hooked a sailfish with less than 5 minutes before lines out.” Under pressure from his cheering team, James was able to land the fish that gave them the victory.
Finishing second was the Authentix team of Kathy Payn, Chip Williams, Meg Kreutzer, Gerado Amado, and Kristi Browne. Fishing with Capt. Joe Mercurio on the Jolly Roger, the Authentix anglers scored a tournament high 690 points on day two and a total of 995 points to finish just 10 points behind the champions. During a post-awards ceremony discussion, anglers from both teams continued to marvel at the exciting finish and the close competition.
Another Houston-based Shell Lubricants team of anglers Trae Smith, Artie Baumann, Jim Wallace and Bill Redwine, fishing aboard the Reef Runner II, scored 895 points to finish in third place. The NASM/Federated Insurance team of Mike Kerr, David Adcox, Shane Hockman, Jeff Reed, and Steve Roach fished on the Miss Kasey and ended the competition with 890 points for fourth place. Rounding out the top five spots was the Motiva New Business team of Henry Miller, Rex Walker, Jamie Patterson, Don Hill, and Kirk Brammer, fishing on the Conch Too.
Close behind the top five teams was the King Fuels/Whitney Bank foursome of Zaki Niazi, Mike Panjawani, Lee Mediamole, and Paul Cole. Their score of 750 points was remarkable considering they decided to focus almost exclusively on sailfish while competing aboard the Linda D V with Captain Billy Wickers III.  The team caught and released a total of 11 sails during the two-day tournament and although rules allow only three sailfish per day to be scored, the anglers enjoyed some of the best fishing of the year and went home with great stories to share with their families and friends.
Tournament coordinator Crystal Blaylock Sanchez and her father, tournament founder Hayden Blaylock, thanked the anglers during the awards ceremony Saturday evening on the Sunset Pier at the Ocean Key Resort. Crystal also thanked this year’s sponsors who offset tournament expenses so that a greater donation may be made to the Diabetes Research Institute. Helping with corporate sponsorship were Adorno & Yoss, Anheuser-Busch, BB Insurance Marketing, Blaylock Oil Company, Coca-Cola, Eagle Transport, Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Kelly & Bill Hohn, King Fuels, Lion Uniform Group, Motiva, Norman Brothers Produce, Joe & Lindy Roth Foundation, Royal Performance Group, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Starz Buying Club, Whitney Bank. As the evening wound down, Matthew Sanchez expressed his gratitude to the anglers for their effort to help the DRI find a cure for him and the millions of other young people who are living with Type 1 diabetes.
Rick Papso summed up the 2010 Shell Key West challenge quite succinctly when he stated, “I cannot imagine a more enjoyable week; great fishing and a fantastic cause make me proud that Shell supports such a worthy event.”
The dates for the 2011 Shell Key West Challenge are April 28th through May 1st so interested anglers should mark their calendars, put together a team, and plan to attend the 23rd annual tournament to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute.


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