HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Mae Watkins said the reason she enjoyed herself at the 2015 Wally Vess Youth Fishing Rodeo on Saturday is because she could enjoy having fun with her family and use her pink fishing rod. While that was her focus, Rickey Vess sees the event as much more than a reason to cast a line. Vess's brother Wally was killed in December 2004 and this fishing rodeo is named after him.
"He got killed in 2004," Vess explained. "It was a domestic dispute and he was trying to help his step daughter out. Her husband didn't like it and they was going through a divorce, and the guy went ballistic on Wally. He went in his house and shot him and killed him."
Before his death, Wally played a pivotal role in starting what was called the City of Huntsville Youth Fishing Rodeo.
"Wally Vess was one of the volunteers that helped get the event started," City of Huntsville Community Events Supervisor Eric Enchelmayer said. "He passed away several years ago and it was officially renamed the Wally Vess Youth Fishing Rodeo in his honor."
Fishing means a lot to the Vess family who owns Buster's Bait & Tackle. The family knows that Wally would love to be standing along the bank, casting a line with the little fishermen and fisherwomen.
"He was good with kids, that's why they done what the did with the rodeo and named the rodeo after him," Rickey Vess said.
Prizes were awarded for prizes in the following categories: largest fish, most fish and prizes for overall heaviest stringer for boy and girl. Twenty tagged fish were worth cash prizes.