How the Oregon Tuna Classic Began
The Oregon Tuna Classic is the result of a few compassionate fishermen and one great idea. Bud Hosner and Michelle Seely, thought of a creative and new way to help fight hunger in Oregon. Hosner found himself giving ample fish to friends and started to wonder why he was giving so much food to those who have more than enough when the hungry people of Oregon could benefit from his catch.
In 2005 a small group of fisherman joined with Hosner to organize the first annual I FISH FOR FOOD Tournament so anglers could spend the day doing what they love while helping to feed hungry people. Twenty teams competed to catch as many tuna as they could, up to their limit, in one day, with the objective of giving to those in need. By the end of the day, over 100 tuna totaling more than 2100 pounds were ready to be canned for donation to the Oregon Food Bank Network.
Having discovered a way to funnel their passion in to giving back to the community, the group reorganized and in 2006 The Oregon Tuna Classic was registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. A committee of all volunteers was established to secure sponsorships and to effectively manage future events.
Today, The Oregon Tuna Classic is a well-established charitable tournament on the West Coast. Since 2005, over 1,000,000 pounds of food has been donated to the Oregon Food Bank through the donation of tuna and food purchased from the cash donations. The OTC’s donations have helped the Oregon Food Bank purchase five pounds of food for every dollar donated.
In 2020, the Oregon Tuna Classic will continue with one event in Garibaldi with Big Fish Friday and the Main Event on Saturday with dinner, raffles and awards Saturday evening. The events continue to draw teams from all over the northwest including Idaho and California. We average around 60-70 teams per event and our tents are capable of handling 500-600 people. We have had many people volunteer because they wanted to be a part of the excitement and help us with our mission. Many of our sponsors continue to jump in at times and give more than their donations by helping with the weigh in, lending a hand during setup or help our volunteers with whatever else is needed. Our title sponsor will continue to be Garmin for 2020 and as many who have attended have seen, the Garmin staff is right in the thick of it, helping out with whatever has been necessary.
The tournaments also bring much needed economic benefit to the communities visited by the armada of fishermen, volunteers and spectators. Local businesses in Garibaldi continue to see the benefits while also donating their time and services to the events. Garibaldi City Manager John O’leary speculates the Oregon Tuna Classic might rival the annual Garibaldi days in generating business.
Dates have been set for the 2021 summer event, we are ramping up the final plans and sponsors have been contacted to again get ready for another season. With the continued support of volunteers and sponsors alike, the OTC will continue the fight against hunger and conservation bringing its armada of fishermen and spectators into these communities. We thank you all, for your support and involvement.
“Oregon Tuna Classic – GREAT CATCH FOR A GREAT CAUSE”
The OTC Mission
The purpose of the Oregon Tuna Classic, OTC as many call it, is to provide a forum for fishermen to have a little friendly competition, catch albacore, and donate it to the local food bank.