ROGERSVILLE — Anglers competing in the Hawkins County Rescue Squad’s annual bass tournament fundraiser last year defied the pandemic, surpassing the number of boats from 2019 by seven, and surpassing the winning bass weight by 2.2 pounds.

Lt. Cory Young, who is helping organize the 29th Annual Ralph Stanton Memorial Bass Tournament this coming April 17, is hoping to surpass the number of boats from 2020 by at least 10.

The tournament is named for lifetime HCRS member and longtime tournament organizer Ralph Stanton, who passed away in 2018. It’s also the biggest and most important fundraiser of the year for the HCRS.

“The money we raise from this event goes into our general fund, and then we use it for the operation of our agency, which includes training, equipment, vehicle maintenance, repairs at the station and utility bills,” Young said. “We have bills just like everyone — electric bills and stuff like that. Fundraisers in general are a big part of our budget to offset the operating costs in addition to the money we receive from the county.”

The tournament is at Cherokee Lake in western Hawkins County and begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Quarryville Boat Ramp, with up to two fishermen per boat. The final weigh-in is at 2 p.m. with up to five fish allowed.

Last year’s winning weight was 16.8 pounds by Travis Carpenter and J.R. Henard, which surpassed the 2019 winning poundage of 14.6 pounds by Denny Turner and Scott Huddleson.

Prizes are $1,000 for first place, $800 for second place, $400 for third place, $200 for fourth place and $100 for the biggest individual fish of the day.

The Quarryville Boat Ramp is located off of Highway 11-W just west of Rogersville.

Sponsors donate the $2,500 in prize money, which means 100% of the $50 per boat entry fee goes directly to the Rescue Squad.

The main sponsors include Christian-Sells Funeral Home, Luttrell Staffing, Utility Staffing Group, JJM Transport and Rocky Top Grafix.

Associate sponsors include Rural Health Services Consortium, Hawkins Farmer’s Co-Op, Rogersville Electric Supply, Holston Electric, Rogersville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Hamilton Long Tax Service, Stapleton Law Office, U-Save Drug Center, Hartness Insurance Agency, Henard Lumber Company, Smith Auto Parts and State Farm Agent Sherry Price.

You can pre-register online

Young encourages tournament contestants to pre-register online at www.hawkinscorescuesquad.org through April 15.

Pre-registered boats will leave in Flight 1, and boats that register the morning of the event will leave in Flight 2.

Participant will be asked to wear face masks and maintain social distancing during morning registration. Pandemic safety is one reason pre-registration is encouraged.

“We understand that some people won’t know if they can compete until a day or two before, so you can register at the boat ramp the morning of the tournament,” Young said. “But, we encourage everyone to pre-register because you basically don’t have to get out of your vehicle until you get to the boat ramp to put in. We check all the boat live wells to make sure no one brings any fish with them. You can just drop the boat straight in the water, instead of having to wait in line, and it’s much faster.”

Participants are also encouraged to come hungry to the Quarryville Boat Ramp the morning of the tournament because the Junior Rescue Squad will be selling two sausage biscuits with a choice of water, juice or coffee for $5.

For more information, call Young at (423) 293-2062 or email him at info@hawkinscorescuesquad.org

Difference between EMS and Rescue Squad

There is sometimes confusion in the public about the difference between the Hawkins County Rescue Squad and Hawkins County EMS.

EMS is an ambulance service that bills for its services.

The Rescue Squad is an all volunteer 24/7 agency that performs extrication from vehicular accidents, water rescues, trench rescues and other types of rescues.