Heading into its 26th year, the Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament continues to raise the billfish tournament bar by announcing its commitment to donate proceeds from the 2009 tournament to the St. Joe Community Foundation.
Along with proceeds from the event set for July 15-19 at Bay Point Marina, the entire entry fee from the 71st and final boat will go directly to the Foundation. The Invitational’s commitment to the Foundation is a natural evolution for the tournament, which from its inception has been deeply rooted in the Florida Gulf Coast community and has consistently supported local charities.
In 2008, the Invitational added two successful community-focused programs – the Soldier Salute and Al Hubbard Kids Fishing Experience. Event-goers and participants welcomed the events with open arms, and both events will be expanded for the 2009 tournament. The wonderful reception of these events helped affirm the decision by event organizers to take the tournament’s long-standing commitment to the community a step further by pledging its proceeds to the St. Joe Community Foundation.
“We are absolutely thrilled about the Invitational’s partnership with the St. Joe Foundation,” says Tournament Director Scott Burt. “We have the opportunity to take the success of our tournament and use it to support an organization that has a proven record in helping so many people and organizations in Northwest Florida.”
The St. Joe Community Foundation serves Florida’s Bay, Franklin, Gulf and Walton counties. Since its start in 1999, the non-profit Foundation has given more than $14 million in grants and pledges back to these Northwest Florida communities with a focus on improving quality of life by supporting education, healthcare, conservation and cultural projects. In Bay County alone, the Foundation has sponsored the Aquatics Center, teaching and learning grants, literacy programs, scholarship funds, transportation for disabled adults, Special Olympics athletes, children’s home renovations, arts and nature programs, and most recently the Audubon of Florida’s conservation efforts near St. Andrews Bay. For more information on the St. Joe Community Foundation, visit www.stjcf.com.
Along with its ongoing community efforts, the Bay Point Invitational reigns as the premier social event of the Panama City Beach area with more than 13,000 spectators over the tournament weekend enjoying live entertainment, the Sponsor Village, the Invitational’s World Famous Dock Walk and, of course, the Friday and Saturday night weigh-ins.
New to the 2009 event is the 40/40 Shootout – a separate division within the Invitational geared specifically to smaller competitive fishing boats. The “tournament within the Tournament” will feature 40 boats of 40 feet or less in length fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin.
With more than two decades of success under its belt, the Invitational is recognized as one of the most prestigious billfish tournaments along the billfish circuit and continues to make waves. The tournament made history during its 25th anniversary by going full release for all billfish – a significant change that was embraced by participants and spectators alike. In fact, 47 boats vied for nearly $1 million in prize money.
The Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament is hosted by the St. Joe Company and Bay Point Marina.
For more information, visit www.baypointbillfish.com.Print Story