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By Zach Cavanagh
Fashion yourself as a saltwater cowboy?
Do you dream of ranging over the open blue plains and wranglin’ up the biggest yellowfin, bass or even marlin you can find?
Do you fancy giant silver belt buckles or just want to have a good time?
The third annual Saltwater Cowboy Memorial Fishing Tournament might be the place for you on Aug. 10-11 out of Dana Point Harbor.
The young charity tournament offers two days of open-water fishing followed by an awards banquet at the Dana Point Yacht Club that features a dinner, silent auction, “Texas style” auction, dancing and music from The Chris Anderson Group.
The Saltwater Cowboy is put together by Dan Gorman Jr. in honor of his father, Dan Gorman Sr., who passed away in 2016.
“Years ago,” Gorman said, “my dad used to run a fishing tournament in Baja California. After he passed, my sister said, ‘you ought to resurrect the tournament dad used to do.’”
While Gorman, a San Clemente resident, got the tournament organized, it was his sister that provided the inspiration for the cowboy angle. Dan’s sister is part of a husband-wife cattle-roping team and came up with the idea for the tournament’s trophy that inspired the tournament’s name.
“In the rodeo world, the trophy is a big silver belt buckle,” Gorman said. “’Saltwater Cowboy’ has a catchy ring to it, and it would bring in friends of my sister and brother from Texas. Everybody liked the name because it resonates with a lot of people.”
The tournament has resonated with local people as well. Gorman said the tournament attracted 21 boats and over 200 people to the auction last year to raise $13,000 for Alzheimer’s Orange County. This year, Gorman expects 22 boats and a similar auction turnout to raise money for the Community Outreach Alliance from San Clemente.
Gorman has been pleased with the early results.
“It’s a feel-good event,” Gorman said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s something I enjoy doing. Mix a little business with pleasure. Clients of mine will donate products and supplies. Clients get to display their wares to the fishing community.”
The tournament is also unique because it’s a multi-species tournament. Anglers get one point per pound of the fish they catch, and there are awards for top angler and top boat. Registration for a team of four anglers is $600.
Along with the silent auction, the “Texas style” auction will be complete with a lively auctioneer to get people excited for the bidding wars. Those not participating in the tournament can still come to the dinner and auction with a $60 ticket at the door.
Gorman says the tournament is the first of its kind down this way, but he expects it to continue.
“Nobody does that down here in Dana Point,” Gorman said. “Nobody around here. It’s been very well received.”
For more information and to register, go to www.thesaltwatercowboy.org.