The 2005 Kenai River Classic, hosted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) was the best ever, according to Classic Chairman Rik Bucy, “More people, more fun, and more money raised than ever before, and the success of the Classic is directly related to the wonderful effort of our 160 plus community volunteers that collectively spend thousands of hours making this event possible. The Classic has grown into one of the major events, in terms of revenue, for the Soldotna / Kenai area and into one of the most recognized and prestigious events of its kind in the country,” says Bucy.
The event once again broke the million-dollar mark in funds raised during the three day event. Everyone does it for the love of the Kenai River and the quality of life it provides for our community Bucy told the Classic volunteers that gathered recently at the Soldotna Elks Lodge for an appreciation dinner and casino play day, “The strides we make in protecting the Kenai River as a unique and forever resource for all generations to enjoy is not possible without your continuing support.”
This year KRSA recognized two volunteers for their outstanding contributions to this year’s event, Glenese Pettey for her work in coordinating the transportation for the 200 plus Classic participants, and long time Classic volunteer Donna Mortenson for the Handmade Alaskan quilt she donated to the auction which sold for over $2,000. “It is with the dedication of volunteers such as Glenese and Donna that makes it possible for us to achieve our mission of ensuring the sustainability of the greatest sport fishing river in the world. The funds raised through the Classic are vital to our success and we work to accomplish our mission through four core areas - habitat, fisheries management, research and education. We want to assure you that KRSA is being prudent with the funds we raise through the Classic - about one third of the revenues goes right back into the local economy to cover Classic expenses, one third is allocated to fund current year programs and projects, and the remaining one third is invested in KRSA’s Continuity Fund, an endowment created to support future programming and long-term maintenance of projects,” added Bucy.
The appreciation day gave volunteers a chance to have some fun together unrelated to the Classic event while playing their favorite casino games for team points. The winning team won a free steak and shrimp dinner at the Elks Lodge. The occasion was also an opportunity for KRSA to present their annual Eagle Awards which recognize exemplary efforts on the Kenai River in protecting aquatic habitat and promoting responsible angler access. “One of KRSA’s goals is to conserve and rehabilitate fisheries habitat to maintain and improve the Kenai River watershed for sustainable fisheries. To achieve this goal we partner with various land management agencies in a variety of ways,” said Jim Golden. Golden presented this year’s Eagle Awards to private property owners Larry and Patty Eason, Ron and Sherrie Henderson, Tom Moore, of Moore’s Landscaping, Mike Kunz, of Mike’s Welding, and Marit Hartvigson, who took her 2004 Caring for the Kenai project “Slikok Creek Stream Keepers Grate Walk” and turned it into a reality that is now being used by students of K-Beach Elementary School.
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