KVD, Detroit Lions, team up on Kent Lake for charity

Herman Moore, one of the best wide receivers in Lions history, caught something new Monday. Moore captured his first bass in 20 years during the Bass Pro Shops/KVD/Detroit Lions Charity Classic.

Moore, Jason Hanson and other retired and current NFL players gave their time to a four-hour charity bass tournament at Kent Lake. Lions were pitted against professional anglers. Fans donated to join their heroes for the tournament opportunity of a lifetime.

Kevin Van Dam and his wife, Sherry, partnered with the Lions for the second year in a row to raise funds for their two favorite charities, Living for the City and the Kevin Van Dam Foundation, a conservation program for children. Van Dam, of Kalamazoo, is the most successful bass angler in the history of the sport. His charity aims to get children outdoors and teach them conservation.

“I wanted to give something back to the community and so did the Lions,” Van Dam said. “So we formed a partnership.”

The partnership involves a lot of competition and smack talk, however, with Lions defensive end Willie Young bragging the whole way. “I will beat you,” he said to Van Dam before the competition. Van Dam just smiled. Van Dam’s team finished one spot ahead of Young’s, though neither team placed in the top three.

“A lot of the Detroit Lions get up in the morning and watch fishing shows, and a lot of those professional anglers watch the Lions. It was a chance for world-class athletes to meet and compete for a good cause,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “The football players really respect the fact that if the anglers don’t perform, they don’t get paid.”

The tournament nearly tanked under the threat of thunderstorms, which hit communities on all sides of Kent Lake, but the anglers stayed dry. Although Young was favored for the win given his fishing experience, his team didn’t place this year.

The winning team sponsored by WYCD-FM (99.5) weighed in at 13 pounds, 14 ounces. Scoring was done by the combined weight of the five biggest bass caught by each team. Leading the team was Capt. Don Watts of Gowen. His teammates were former Lions safety Stuart Schweigert; Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply in Beverly Hills; and Steve Grunwald, co-host of WYCD’s “Dr. Don Morning Show with Rachael and Grunwald.” Grunwald is an avid angler.

“I was just hoping we’d come in the middle of the pack, but Capt. Don was awesome. We’re still in shock,” Grunwald said. “This is so different than other fund-raisers and so much fun. The best bass fisherman in the world lives right here down the road. I hope even more people show up next year.”

Elite Bass Pro angler Aaron Feeback brought Team Plano into a second-place finish with a total weight of 11 pounds, 9 ounces. Teammates were Greg Yourst of Bass Pro Shops, Roy McBurney of Bass Pro and Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego. Feeback attributes the high finish to his lucky I-Gogs sunglasses. “I swear they catch me fish every time,” he said.

Team WYCD says it’ll be back next year to defend its title. Team Plano will return as well. And Young will be right there to challenge them.


from the Detroit Free Press