Redneck fishing tournament returns to Bath for 15th time

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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MASON COUNY (25 News Now) - Hundreds are descending on the small Illinois village of Bath this weekend for a unique event, the Redneck Fishing Tournament.

The competition started as a way to help control the invasive carp population in the Illinois River, and it has since drawn in people from across the globe. Teams dress up in costumes and compete to catch as many of these notorious jumping fish as they can.

“Nature kind of threw Bath a curveball with the invasive carp, and Bath stepped up and said ‘we can hit that,’ 10-year fisher John Patterson said. “They turned it into a community celebration. Draws people in from all over. I love the spirit, overcoming obstacle.”

“We have come every year but the first one,” new event organizer Nikki Gregerson said. “Any time we can’t have it, it’s missed.”

This year’s tournament also helped raise money for two causes. Money raised will help local homeless veterans like it has for several years, but some will also go toward breast cancer resources and research.

Betty DeFord is the founder of the tournament and is battling breast cancer for the second time. She hosted a fundraising table at the event with raffle items and more, benefitting the people who helped her.

“Every dime that you put into this (table) goes to them,” DeFord said. “It’s good for the whole community. It’s not just for Bath.”

The tournament continues all weekend long, through Sunday.

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