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Rhode Island Lions Sight Foundation

Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Adults of RI
10th Annual
June 25, 2017

Last Updated 6/10/2017

On June 26, 2016, The RI Lions Sight Foundation (RILSF) hosted our 9th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament for
isually Impaired Persons (VIP’s) of Rhode Island on a chartered party boat out of Galilee RI. A great time was had by all and we thank of you that participated. and provided support.   See 2016 Results

We are pleased to announce that, on June 25, 2017, The RI Lions Sight Foundation (RILSF) will be hosting our 10th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Persons (VIP’s) of Rhode Island on a chartered party boat out of Galilee RI.

Started in 2008, the Tournament is organized by the RILSF and is supported by donations from RI Lions Clubs and individual donors. The event includes, Boxed Breakfast, a morning of Fluke Fishing on a Frances Fleet party boat (includes equipment and bait), followed by a Lunch, Free Raffle and Awards and Presentation at a local restaurant. The tourney is free of charge to all VIP’s and their guides. Event applications are available below.

The requirements for eligibility are
• Legally Blind
• At least 17 years’ old
• Are physically able to fish from a party boat.
• Must be accompanied by a guide.** Application for participants must be submitted PDF Format  Word Format
.(Transportation and/or Guides will be provided if needed.)

In addition to competing for trophies in the RI Tournament, three (3) of the top winners will be eligible to represent Rhode Island at the National VIP Fishing Tournament to be held in October on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where participants come in from all parts of the USA & Canada. (Eligible if they have not gone in the previous 2 years) The trip will also include competing in the Annual New England Lions Tourney where we compete against VIP’s from the other participating New England states. We are proud to be able to say that the RI teams have been very successful in both tourneys.

Below, there is also an inspiring video of the National Tournament that provides insight into the experiences of the VIPs’ and includes cuts of last years’ CT & RI VIP’s sharing their thoughts.For more information on the National Tournament go to http://www.ncvipfishing.org  

If you are interested in attending the RI Lions Tournament, please complete the enclosed application and send it to the address shown on the application. Please remember to include your signature.
NOTE: ** Guides must also fill out an application. PDF Format  Word Format

Even though the date may seem a long way off, we ask that you return you application as soon as you can to ensure your lucky seat!!!

Donations in any amount are appreciated to help cover the cost of the event but please don’t let this stop you from attending.
Donations are voluntary.

Lastly, we ask that you spread the word about the tournament to any other VIP’s that you may know of that might be interested in participating. Our goal is to have a many VIP’s as possible get to experience the fun and excitement of this event and to have the chance to meet the great people like you that participate


For further information, feel free to contact either of the following committee members.

Lion Ken Barthelemy, Tournament Chair


Lion Bill Hawkins, Asst. Tournament Chair


2016 RILSF VIP Fishing Tournament
A great article on last years tourney that appeared in the July edition of the South County Life Magazine. It was written by their reporter William Geoghegan who really captured the essence of the event, despite all of the seasickness that surrounded him. Read more.....

2016 RILSF VIP Fishing Tournament Participants


2016 RI VIP Tourney Winners

1st Place - Janice Musco, 2nd Place – Rob Sousa, 3rd Place – George O’Keefe (Side Pic)


2016 National VIP Fishing Tournament Report
October 27, 2016

Fellow Lions, VIP’s and supporters of the VIP Tournaments
I am pleased to report that the New England VIP Fishing Team has safely returned from a great trip to the National VIP Fishing Tournament on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We did feel the effects of Hurricane Matthew in the form of reduced overall attendance and in the waters of Oregon Inlet where our 1st day of fishing takes place. The waters were brown, fish and other wildlife were very scarce and, even though the boat captain went to places that we’ve not been in all the years we’ve attended, we still had only 4 fish. As we neared the end of the day, he took us back to the marina, tied off away from the dock and the VIP’s caught more fish than they had in the previous 5 hours.

The New England VIP Tournament, which consisted of CT, MA & RI, awards 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies and there is a Perpetual Plaque that is awarded to the District Governor of the winning state. This year’s winner is the Massachusetts Team won 1st place and Rhode Island took 2nd & 3rd place. The plaque is typically presented at a NE District Governors meeting.

The National Tournament is on Wednesday on the state-of-the-art Jennette’s Pier and this year there were participants from as far away as Georgia and Canada. Most fish are small Spots and Pinfish that will fit in your hand but they are exciting for the VIP’s to catch, and thankfully, with the catch & release points-by-species scoring system used, size doesn’t matter. Compared to last year the fishing was also slow on the pier and as a result the competition was very tight.

Even though, the New England team did not win a National trophy this year, everyone still had a great time experiencing the event and meeting other participants. The organizers, participants, and especially Bob & Dee Christensen, continue to live up to their reputation for amazing Southern hospitality.

This years’ RI participants were:
Janice Musco, Lincoln - 3rd place winner of the NE Tourney and 4-time National participant.
Rob Sanchas, Warren - 3rd place winner of the NE Tourney
Donny Rego - West Warwick

The Winner of the New England Lions VIP Tournament was Joe Bonardi of Worcester, MA

There were also special VIP Ambassador Awards presented to those who have had a significant impact on the VIP Fishing program and I had the privilege of presenting them to;
PDG Dom Branco on behalf of the RILSF for his assistance over the years with promoting this event in RI and with the DG’s of New England.
Lion Don Hayden on behalf of the Scituate Lions for his contributions to the RI VIP Tournament and for his avid support of the VIP Fishing program.

This was our 3rd year travelling by bus which provides the opportunity for everyone to meet and interact before the tournaments. Our fellow group leaders from CT & MA are tremendous to work with and are very helpful in putting this trip together and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the help that they provide. The ride on the DATTCO bus was again made especially enjoyable by the service, enthusiasm and care for the VIPs shown by our driver Hector Medina who also helps on the boat and pier. It is especially gratifying to witness the VIPs’ and Guides get excited, laugh, learn, and gain self-confidence in a new environment, and especially, to become such good friends with each other.

On behalf of the New England Lions VIP Fishing Team, I want to express our appreciation for the contribution from the Pabst Blue Ribbon Northeastern Fishing Tournament which helps with the cost of the bus and we look forward to their continued support.

Also, I want to thank the RILSF, the Dist. 42 Lions Clubs, and individual Lions, especially Bill Hawkins, for his support in providing this extraordinary opportunity for the VIP’s to grow stronger, improve their lives and represent the Lions of RI District 42.

Yours in Lionism,
Ken Barthelemy
Lion Ken Barthelemy, Tournament Chair

Pictures are below and more can be found on Facebook under “N.C. Lions VIP Fishing Tournament, Inc.”

Our History


2016 RILSF VIP Fishing Tournament