Non-profit recreational fishing organization United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) is gearing up for its 18th Annual Fundraising Dinner, Sunday, October 25 at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach. This popular yearly event will feature a gourmet dinner, social time with fellow anglers and industry representatives, and thousands of dollars worth of valuable raffle and door prizes.
The highlight of this event each year is the presentation of the Bill Ray Memorial Award, the highest conservation award presented by UASC. Over the years, this award has been presented to a diverse group of individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of recreational anglers. The prestigious list of recent recipients includes Bart Hall of Fred Hall & Associates (2008), Peggie Shedd of AFTCO (2007), retired California Fish and Game Commission Director Robert B. Treanor (2006) and hook-and-line commercial fisherman Jack Webster (2005). Among other notable fishing luminaries who have been honored since the award's inception in 1991 are Bill Ray, Milt Shedd, Bill Shedd, Don Kent, Paxson Offield, Thomas Pfleger, Fred Hall, Bill Beebe, Russ Izor, Jim Donlon, Sen. Dede Alpert, Bob Fletcher and Dick Pool.
According to UASC President Steven Fukuto, this year's award presentation will be particularly gratifying. The 18th Annual Bill Ray Memorial Award will be presented to Beverly Ray Parkhurst, who was married to UASC founder Bill Ray until his death of cancer in 1991. It was in her husband Bill's memory that this award was originally established, and now, 18 years later, Beverly Ray Parkhurst will be recognized for her continued support of the sportfishing community.
In the summer of 2008, Beverly Ray Parkhurst demonstrated her dedication to carrying on her husband's conservation vision in a very real and tangible way. On behalf of the Bill and Beverly Ray Foundation, she presented UASC with a very generous grant. These vital funds are being used to continue a variety of important programs designed to benefit fish and fishermen. These diverse activities include ongoing efforts to halt destructive industrial fishing practices, enhance marine habitat and fish stocks, promote ethical angling practices and educate youngsters and families about the sport of fishing. Perhaps most important in today's challenging environment, however, is UASC's steadfast dedication to prevent unnecessary closures and maximize recreational fishing opportunities for today and the future.
"It will be my honor to present Beverly Ray Parkhurst with this prestigious award and watch her take her rightful place among some great people who've done so much for all of us," said Fukuto. "I'm looking forward to recognizing her, not only for this single act of generosity, but for her important role in helping Bill Ray achieve his dream of a conservation organization designed for recreational fishermen - a dream that eventually became United Anglers of Southern California," he added.
There is another important aspect of this annual fundraising dinner. Since 2009 marks the organization's 20th Anniversary overall, a special effort is being made to recognize those who have been with UASC since the beginning. "There is a surprising number of dedicated people who have stuck with us and by us for all these years," said Fukuto. "In some small way, we want to honor them for the contributions they have made to fishing in Southern California," he added.
Tickets for this important fundraising event are $100, which includes dinner and raffle tickets for a variety of valuable items including fishing tackle, artwork, apparel, vacation packages and more. Additional raffle tickets can also be purchased at the event. Even those who can't make the dinner can help UASC and get a shot at these great prizes by purchasing raffle tickets in advance (winners need not be present). The event also features a variety of valuable items up for live and silent auction.
For more information or tickets call (562) 494-9900 or visit UASC's website at www.unitedanglers.com.