The tradition continues as the OCARC hosts the 26th annual fishing tournament on August 2nd and 3rd at the City of Orange Boat Ramp located on Simmons Drive.

The family-oriented event is oldest local tournament in Orange with about 400 people participating annually. For the first time, the tournament will kick off at the boat ramp instead of at OCARC.

During the weigh-in, there will be $2,700 paid out in the various categories. For the biggest speck, bass, flounder and redfish $250 will be paid along with a trophy. First place winners catching the biggest white perch, catfish, croaker, grinnel, black drum and perch will receive $100.  While second place for the speckled trout, red fish, flounder, bass and white perch pays $100 and third place for these fish pays $50.

Participants with a second place win after catching white perch, catfish, croaker, grinnel, black drum and perch will win $50 and those winning third place for these type of fish will win $25.

Red fish must be between 20 to 27 inches in length while black drums must be 14 to 29 inches long.

For the first time in the tournament history, there is an added category of the appaloosa red with a $250 prize. However, this one is different. It is not for the biggest fish, but for the one with the most spots. In order to be eligible, the fish must be between 20 to 27 inches in length.

The entry fee for the tournament is $25. But, children under the age of 16 can participate for free but must still complete an application. They too will be eligible to win the prizes.

“Every child gets a trophy, no matter how big the fish is,” said Sandy McCormick, supervisor at OCARC. “We really want them to be able to participate.”

Staff at OCARC will be on hand until 5 p.m. on the day of the event to at the office, located at 905 Park Ave, to take last minute applications and fees.

The tournament will being at  5 p.m. August 2. Fisherman can go out in a boar or fish from the bank, but must stay within a 40 mile radius of the boat ramp.

Fish entered into the tournament for a chance at one of the prizes, do not have to be alive but on ice and in “edible” condition. Once the tournament is over, the fish will be cleaned and served to the clients of OCARC and their families on Sunday during a fish fry to be held at the Orange Boat Club.

“We do like to give it back,” McCormick said.

Fisherman will begin certifying their fish at 4 p.m. Saturday with the weigh-in promptly at 6 p.m.

McCormick said the tournament could not be done without the help of their sponsors and the Orange Boat Club who donated time and effort.

OCARC, a private non-profit organization, was founded in 1956. Realizing the need for vocational training for mentally challenged adults, a group of concerned parents and citizens formed the organization. In addition, the “day rehab” type facility helps the mentally challenged students with life skills and socialization.

The original workshop started in the home of Cathryn Boyd. It was later moved to the Thomen Center, located in Orange. After an apparent need for more room, the Board members started looking for a permanent facility for the OCARC Workshop. In the late 60’s Mrs. Nelda Stark donated property at the current location, and with this donation, money was raised to erect the building still in use today.

Since 1971, OCARC has expanded with other workshop extensions, serving around 65 clients. OCARC has now been in the industrial engraving sign business for over 20 years, and makes all types of signs, desk sets, name pins both in plastic and metal, and a number of other products.

In the spirit of trying to be totally self-supporting, other products have been included in our business, such as: trophies, plaques, and industrial signs. Their goal is to make the clients as self-sufficient as possible.

For more information on the tournament or tournament rules call  409-886-1363.

People of all ages are encouraged to take part in the OCARC 26th annual fishing tournament on August 2nd and 3rd at the City of Orange Boat Ramp located on Simmons Drive. The family-oriented event is oldest local tournament in Orange with about 400 people participating annually.