In a landslide victory, Bob Hewes Boats’ fishing team reeled in 44 pounds of dolphin and took home the top prize at the 16th Annual TotalBank Scholarship Fishing Tournament and Block Party.
The event, hosted at Shake A Leg Miami in Coconut Grove, raises money for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. In addition, six students were awarded scholarships by the Alumni Association at the event, including the Legacy, Panther Pride and Young Alumni Council Graduate Student scholarships.
Stakes ran high that sunny Saturday morning, with 12 prizes up for grabs, ranging from a $25 El Capitan gift card for fishers age 10 and under to the grand prize of $2,000 and a trophy for the team reeling in the most dolphin (by weight).
Tension rose as teams checked in to the weigh station one by one to tally their day’s catch, and some teams were edged out of the running by as little as half-pound margins. The tournament focused on dolphin, but categories also included fun fish, from which the Sea Hunter team stole the spotlight with a 24.5-pound tuna.
Fish didn’t seem to be biting much that day, but the Bob Hewes Boats team said they hit a streak of luck when they came across a weedline, a floating palm tree and a flock of birds on the surface of the water, each attracting an abundance of dolphin.
“We were happy to be included as one of the sponsors, and surprised and excited to be the winner,” said team member Krissy Hewes Wiborg, who studied business at FIU. “We were happy to be part of such a fantastic event, and we look forward to next year.”
Accounting alumnus Jordan Mullins Flores ’08 has been fishing his whole life, so he was excited to participate in the tournament. He and his father, hospitality alumnus Walter Flores ’85, fished on the Golden Rule Seafood team. Their company was also one of the event’s sponsors.
Even though it wasn’t a perfect day for fishing, Mullins Flores said it was a great day to celebrate FIU with family and friends. “Not many schools probably sponsor a fishing tournament, so it’s really great that FIU does,” he said.
Back on land, the Block Party featured seaside fun for the whole family with a view of the marina.
Kids splashed down a water slide, hopped around a bounce house, had their faces painted and explored sea life in a “discovery tank” hosted by the Department of Marine Biology.
Meanwhile, alumni, family and friends enjoyed tapas and drinks provided by event sponsors, including Rice Mediterranean Kitchen, Chinese Guy, the FIU alumni-owned M.I.A. Beer and The Tank Brewing companies, and more.
Political science alumnus Joseph Medina ’05 and his wife Elizabeth, an alumna of FIU’s paralegal certificate program, came to the Block Party for the first time this year. But it won’t be their last. The football season-ticket holders are regulars at FIU alumni events and try to stay involved in the FIU community as much as possible.
“The Block Party has been great,” Joseph Medina said. “We’ve had a lot of fun today.”
Head Football Coach Butch Davis, with FIU Golden Dazzlers and cheerleaders in tow, hyped the crowd for what is shaping up to be an exciting 2018 season.
He invited all alumni to come out and support the team during key matchups against the Indiana Hoosiers, the FAU Owls and the Miami Hurricanes. The Panthers face the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. on Sept. 1 at FIU’s home opener. Click here for the full schedule.
“We need you there,” Davis said, encouraging the audience to buy season tickets so they can support the team throughout the season.
Duane Wiles, executive director of the Alumni Association, thanked the crowd and event sponsors for their continued support of FIU. “This is a fun day out with family, friends and alumni serving a greater purpose of which we can all be proud.”