CLINTON, Mo. (Oct. 11, 2013) - The first Ned Rutledge and Bobby Garland Memorial Crappie Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, on Missouri's Truman Lake in honor of the late Ned Rutledge and Bobby Garland to benefit the National Stroke Association (NSA).
The one-day crappie tournament is a team format open to one or two anglers per boat, with a $75 per team entry fee required for participation, which includes a $10 entry into the big fish competition. Prize payouts are based on 80 percent of the entry fees going toward team prizes and 20 percent being presented as a donation to the NSA. Big crappie is 100 percent payout.
Gene Larew Lures, makers of Bobby Garland crappie baits and who purchased the Garland crappie brand from the Rutledges a few years ago, has additionally guaranteed supplemental first and second place cash payouts of $500 and $250, respectively. The company will also award a $250 cash prize to a registered team selected by random drawing.
Rutledge was an avid crappie angler who was passionate about recreational and tournament fishing for the species. Garland was a pioneer in the soft plastic lure business, introducing many creative bait designs for bass and crappie over his lifetime.
The Rutledges acquired the Garland name and rights for the crappie business from their good friend and neighbor Bobby Garland in 2002. Rutledge passed away Feb. 22, 2013. Complications from strokes had challenged his speech and mobility and ultimately led to his death.
Garland, who died seven years earlier, but only one day a part from Rutledge, on Feb. 21, 2006, also dealt with speech loss and a broken hip following a major stroke.
Betty Rutledge credits one of the original Bobby Garland pro staff teams, Charlie and Kevin Rogers, for coming up with the idea of the crappie tournament to honor her late husband and the namesake lure designer, and benefit other stroke victims. The benefit tournament is to become an annual event.
"This isn't a fundraiser for Ned and Bobby, but a way to help make people realize that strokes are something very serious and that the National Stroke Association needs our help in all that they do," she explained. "The Rogers and so many wonderful fishing friends have stepped forward in support and that alone makes me feel good."
The late Ned Rutledge will be honored at the first Ned Rutledge and Bobby Garland Memorial Crappie Tournament on Missouri's Truman Lake that benefits stroke victims.