New bay tournament to benefit Harlingen Explorer post

Families enjoy the beach and fishing on South Padre Island during the Labor Day holiday last year, as seen in these Valley Morning Star file photos. A vacation website has ranked the Island as having one of the best family-destination beaches in the country.

HARLINGEN — The inaugural Battle on the Bay Fishing Tournament organized by the Harlingen Border Patrol Association is gearing up to hit the water June 21.

The tournament is open to Border Patrol agents, all law enforcement officers, military, first responders and retirees from these agencies and services.

The entry fee is $100 per boat, which will raise funds for Harlingen Explorer Post 967 which was founded this year by the Border Patrol’s Harlingen Station.

“ So far, we have Harlingen PD, SWAT, we have fire departments, we have retirees and we have active, and of course our military,” said Jessica Ramirez, a spokesperson for the BP’s Harlingen Station. “So we just need one person as the captain representing the group.”

Categories for winning fish include $500 awards for biggest redfish and another $500 for biggest trout, and $200 for most dots on a redfish, according to the organizers.

Tournament entrants will launch from Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park at 6 a.m. and return to the dock by 3 p.m.

“ The Border Patrol has Explorer posts all throughout the sector,” Ramirez said. “But Harlingen did not and Harlingen PD’s was full, so our chief took the initiative and said all stations need to have one.

“ We started ours in February, and our very first class just graduated on May 11 — 26 kids,” she added. “And this is going toward their competitions, any sort of outings, and field trips.”

Explorer chapters are for teens between 14 and 18 who are in high school. Activities and training give them hands-on experience with not just Border Patrol work but law enforcement careers in general, Ramirez said.

“ From firearms to constitutional law,” she said. “It’s similar to what you kind of expect with the ROTC program in the high schools, but for law enforcement.”

Community service is also part of the requirements for Explorers. Post 967 recruits recently participated in a candlelight vigil in Pendleton Park.

“ You’re going to be seeing the start of their presence in the community,” Ramirez said.

Tournament sponsors are Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, Texas Roadhouse, The Sportsman boats and Elliff Motors.

If you go

WHAT — Battle on the Bay Fishing Tournament
WHERE — Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park
WHEN — June 21, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
ORGANIZER — Harlingen Border Patrol Association
FUNDRAISER — For Harlingen Explorer Post 967
ELIGIBLE — Border Patrol agents, law enforcement officers, military, first responders, retirees
ENTRY FEE — $100 per boat
CONTACT — To enter the tournament, contact Jessica Ramirez at Jessica.r.ramirez@cbp.dhs.gov

rkelley@valleystar.com