Fishing derby raises $3,000 for family who lost their home to fire

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People shopping at the Metro grocery store around noon this past Saturday must have wondered what the heck was going on.

Like a flash mob, but without the music and the dancing, a group of friends arrived at the meat counter to present Bob Lupton, aka Butcher Bob, with a $3,000 monster cheque, the proceeds from a fishing derby the group organized in February.

Just 10 days before Christmas last year, Bob and his family lost their Britannia Road home and its contents to a fire. Barry Groomes, who has known Bob and his family for years, wanted to do something to help.

According to Barry’s daughter Shelbie, her dad wanted to do something to help out Bob, even if it was just a little. “My dad likes to hunt and fish and he knew Bob liked to fish as well, so the plan was hatched to have a fish derby,” Shelbie said.

Barry enlisted the help of his family, daughter Shelbie Groomes, and wife, Heather Groomes, as well as friends Tammie Lupton (Bob’s sister), Andy Malloy, Laurie Malloy, Andy Todd, Ron Earl, and John McAuley, to help organize the winter fishing derby.

The group collected over $4,500 worth of prizes from area businesses (listing here) and they had 55 people register. As Barry said, “It was a great reason to go fishing for a day with some great people and for a great cause.”

The group ended up raising $3,000 to help Bob in the rebuilding of the family home.

“I’m just overwhelmed by how many people are helping me,” Bob said with a huge smile belying the tears in his eyes. He plans to start rebuilding this spring, whenever the snow melts, and credits his sister, Tammie Lupton, with helping him through the bureaucracy. “I got my sister here helping me. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know what I would be doing. I deal with people here everyday but I have a hard time dealing with the town and stuff like that,” Bob said to laughter.

Taking first place in derby was Tara Thompson-Hall with a 28-inch lake trout. John McAuley came in second with a 27.5-inch pike. Both the winners turned their prize money back into the pot for Bob. According to Barry, there was another gentleman on Lake Vernon that day who took quite an interest in what was going on but didn’t feel confident enough to register for the derby. He ended up catching a 37-inch pike but took home nothing but bragging rights.

The organizers plan to make this an annual event with a local charity being chosen as the recipient of the proceeds. Next year’s derby will be held on February 29. Mark your calendars.

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