CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Roger Creager's "Coastal Bender" is reeling in a weekend of fun for kids at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi.
Children and families from the non-profit were invited to participate in a fishing tournament hosted by the Hook-Spit Junior Anglers on Friday.
"We've been telling them for the past few days that they're going to come out here and catch some fish," said Veronica Ramos, Community Engagement Manager at the Ronald McDonald House. "Some of them have never fished before, some of them haven't been down to the bay yet. So, they were super excited to come down here."
The Ronald McDonald House is a non-profit that provides housing, support, and other resources for families who travel far from home to seek medical care for their children. The Corpus Christi location currently is at capacity with all 25 rooms filled with families. About half of the House was able to participate in the fishing tournament.
"It felt good again being able to catch a big one," said 12-year-old Stephen Cardenas, who reeled in a large catfish in the makeshift pond. "I haven't caught a big one like that in a while."
Local artist Lanar Brandon joined in the fun by offering an art project for participants. The kids used paint to stamp small canvases with their hand prints to make them look like fish. It is a souvenir they get to keep.
The group also made a larger canvas with Brandon to auction off during the weekend-long "Coastal Bender" to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
"It's a great fundraiser. We are trying to get these kids well, give them some hope, and some smiles," said Brandon.
On Tuesday, Roger Creager -- who is originally from the Corpus Christi area -– said the kids' fishing tournament touches his heart.
"We've been talking about this for years," Creager said about the inaugural event. "We've been trying to find a venue and a city and a place to host something like this. This year it all came together."
The "Coastal Bender" will continue into the weekend with an outdoor expo, fishing tournaments, and will be topped off with a concert featuring Creager, Chris Colston, Jack Ingram, and David Lee Murphy on Saturday evening.
For more information on the event, visit CoastalBender.com.
Written by Mike Gillaspia