Rhode Island Lions Sight Foundation
Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Adults of RI
Last Updated 10/27/2016
On June 26, 2016, The RI Lions Sight
Foundation (RILSF) hosted our 9th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament
Visually 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. Hope to see you all
for 10th Annual VIP Fishing Tournament
See 2016 Results
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
Presentation at a Hanks’ Down South restaurant. The tourney is free of
charge to all VIP’s and their guides.
Download your Tournament Application
MS Word Format
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.
(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 2013 National
VIP Fishing Tournament (if they have not gone in the previous 2 years) to be
held in October on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where participants come
in from all parts of the USA & Canada.
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.
At the end of this letter, there is 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
For the 3rd year, we have the good fortune of having the support of the
Pabst Brewing Co. as we are the beneficiaries of the Pabst Blue Ribbon
Northeastern Tournament held from May through October. The PBR donation
is used to help with the cost of transportation for the participating New
England Lions VIP representatives to the National VIP Tournament Information
and applications for the PBR Tournament are available at
and we encourage you pass the word to any anglers you know.
If you are interested in attending the RI Lions Tournament, please download
and print the 2016 application PDF
MS Word Format and send it to the address shown on the
application. Please remember to include your signature. NOTE: Guides
must also fill out an application.
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!!!
The event is Free to VIP’s & Guides but 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
Lion Ken Barthelemy, Tournament Chair
Lion Bill Hawkins, Asst. Tournament Chair
VIP Fishing Tournament
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.
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)
We look forward to having you join us in 2017
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
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
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
This years’ RI participants were:
Janice Musco, Lincoln - 3rd place winner of the NE Tourney and 4-time National
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,
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,
Lion Ken Barthelemy, Tournament Chair
Pictures are below and more can be found on
Facebook under “N.C. Lions VIP Fishing Tournament, Inc.”
About us and some history