Fish for football

Fishing derby nets $3,500 for Belmont football program

Union Leader Correspondent
February 19. 2014 7:36PM
Winners in the first-ever Friends of Belmont Football fishing derby were, from left, Cody Watson, Brendon Scheffer, Bruce Perkins, Mark Forgione Jr. and Tanner Woods. (Dan Seufert Photo)

BELMONT — The first Friends of Belmont Football fishing derby was a big success over the weekend, raising $3,500.

The derby, held Saturday and Sunday, drew 91 anglers to Lake Winnisquam, said Belmont parent and volunteer Eric Shirley. The group's goal is to bring students a high school football program.

"We have a saying, 'Idle hands on a teenager can lead to dangerous things,'" said Shirley, a state police trooper. "Ultimately, students who want to play football could see great benefit from this."

Shirley, who was an offensive lineman at Plymouth State University in the 1980s, said Belmont and Gilford high school officials are negotiating a potential arrangement that would send Belmont students who want to play football to Gilford.

The effort has been ongoing for three years, he said. It would involve a substantial commitment of money — probably about $15,000 per school year.

At Christmas, the group made close to $4,000 selling Christmas trees. They had 160 for sale, "and we sold 157 of them," Shirley said.

The group also recently raised $1,000 at a fundraising dinner.

Over the weekend, the group awarded prizes in raffles and for the largest pickerel, white perch, yellow perch, and cusk caught. The headquarters was at Winnisquam Market and Deli, whose owners provided lots of support for the derby, Shirley said.

Among the derby winners were Ryan Paris of Nashua with a 3.14-pound, 23 7/8-inch pickerel; Tyler Leroux of Belmont with a 2.69-pound, 13 3/4-inch white perch; and Bruce Perkins of Laconia with a 3.53-pound, 24-inch cusk.A drawing for a new bob house was won by Robert Wilcox of Franklin. Jared Lover of Weare won a new ice auger. Gerard Paquette of Northfield won two lift tickets to Gunstock Mountain Resort.

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