JON MORLEY WALLEYE TOURNAMENT
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A local fishing contest that started as a way to fund Parkinson’s disease research is switching its focus this month to benefit the Hospice of the EUP.
The third annual Jon Morley Classic will be held Sept. 22 with registration and check-in from 6:30-7:30 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 8 a.m. at the Conely Point boat launch at the end of Scenic Drive in Barbeau. Boats must be at the dock at 3 p.m. for weigh-in, which goes until 3:30 p.m.
Following the fishing, hungry anglers will gather at the Norris residence, just down Scenic Drive from the boat ramp, for dinner (included with entry fee, available to others by donation), a silent auction, 50-50 draw, cornhole tournament, and more, including music by the Workin’ Man Band.
Top prize for the biggest walleye is $1,000, with cash prizes for the next four biggest fish and two prizes worth $100 or more for big fish caught in the kids’ division.
Steve Morley of Sault Ste. Marie started the tournament three years ago as a way of raising money to help find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, which his father, Jon, has been living with for 14 years.
“The first year, we wanted to bring more awareness to Parkinson’s Disease and raise money to help find a cure, so we donated the funds to a national organization that funds Parkinson’s research,” Morley said. “Last year, we donated $6,200 raised from the tournament to the Merlin Home (a Sault Ste. Marie facility for persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia). This year, we were talking about how much the Ball Hospice House is helping everyone in this community, so we decided to donate the funds there.”
In doing so, Morley and his group of volunteers will be helping not only those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but anyone in the community who finds themselves in need of end-of-life services provided by Hospice of the EUP.
The contest fits in with the Morley family lifestyle, as most of the people in the family are active outdoors. Jon was an avid hunter and fisherman for many years, and Steve said his father still enjoys watching his family continue to do the things he did.
“We thought about a fundraiser for a couple years, and my wife, Shelly, really grabbed a hold of it. We were thinking it would be cool to do something in dad’s name. It’s a ton of work. But now with everything organized, it gets a little easier.”
More people have been getting involved, too, Morley said.
“The community is unbelievable, especially the local businesses who are contributing,” he said. “Everyone is so helpful. It’s great to see everyone behind it. If we can help others going through what our family has gone through, we’ll consider it a success.”
Morley emphasized that it’s not just fishermen who get all the fun. Everyone is invited to join the crowd at Norris Construction.
“We fed 140 people last year. No one wanted to leave.”
In addition to food donated by area businesses, dinner includes a fish fry if anglers are successful.
“They release all of the big fish – anything over 20 inches – but a lot of people donate smaller fish to fry up that night.”
Register for the tournament at Woody’s One-Stop, Clyde’s Restaurant, Northern Style Salon and Steve’s Plumbing in Sault Ste. Marie, Jim’s MCM Store, Barbeau, and Wilderness Treasures, Pickford.
Entry fees are $50 for adults and $20 for kids 12-17. Kids 11-under are free. All donations are tax-deductible.
For more information, call 906-259-7220 or 632-4140.********************