Kids swapped out tablets and phones for bait and rods Saturday at the 15th Annual Rick Rhyne Memorial Fishing Tournament. Hundreds showed up for angling action at Lake McKenzie in Foxfire to forgo a day of screen time.

The tournament began in 2003 by the late Rick Rhyne. Rick lost his life in the line of duty in 2011 as a deputy for the Moore County Sheriff’s Department. He was also the former Foxfire Chief of Police.

The event continues each year thanks to his wife, Wanda.

Over a hundred volunteers turn out each year to help with the event. The volunteers come from all walks of life. You will find law enforcement, wildlife, first responders, businesses, friends, and families that all show up to assist.

Children, ages 3-16, and their families come out to enjoy a day of fishing. The Boys and Girls Club brings children to the event and adults with special needs are also included. It doesn’t matter who you are, there were plenty of fish and smiles to go around.

The first year, the event was planned in 10 days and 16 kids showed up.

Now, Wanda Rhyne spends about six months planning, and as many as 100-150 children show up, and everyone goes home with something. At the end of the tournament, children win prizes for the fish they catch.  

“There are plenty of kids that win, but Rick believed every child should go home with something and to date, every child has,” said Wanda.  “Every child is a winner.”

Madison Brafford, 8, caught the biggest fish at the tournament.  The fish came in at an impressive 27 inches and 9 pounds.  Madison also won a season pass to the zoo for her family.

Wanda added, “Many thanks to all the volunteers for all their hard work.”

Feature photo: Madison Brafford holds one of her fish she caught weighing in at 5 pounds.





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