PGO logo 2019

(Aug. 9, 2019) Several new activities have been added for the 26th annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open, hosted by Bahia Marina Tournaments and slated for Aug. 15-17.

“We wanted to add some fun to this year’s event and so we decided to have the Battle of the Bras Contest, whose participants decorate bras and have them on display during the tournament. Donations will act as a vote for each one and later will be auctioned off at the awards banquet,” said India Bandorick, Poor Girls Open committee coordinator, as well as Fish Tales’ retail manager and graphic artist. “Since a lot of ladies come dressed up to the scales, we thought it would be a fun competition to have a Best Dressed Team Contest.”

The cost to enter the Battle of the Bras is $25. The deadline to submit an entry is Saturday, Aug. 10. All proceeds go toward breast cancer research.

Visitors to Fish Tales/Bahia Marina on 21st Street, bayside, during Poor Girls Open, Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 14-17, can vote for their favorite. Every $1 equals one vote.

The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Fish Tales and a $50 certificate to a local boutique.

For additional information or to register, visit www.poorgirlsopen.com.

Ladies participating in the tournament can also enter the Best Dressed Competition. Teams will be judged during weigh-ins, Thursday through Saturday, from 4-7:30 p.m.

Winners will be announced during the tournament awards banquet, Sunday, Aug. 18. There will also be prizes for best use of pink and crowd favorite.

To avoid waiting in a long line to sign up for the tournament on Wednesday, teams can now register in advance online this year on the new www.poorgirlsopen.com website.

Earl Conley, co-director of the Poor Girls Open, said earlier this week about a dozen teams had pre-registered.

Many women, including cancer survivors, make it a tradition to fish annually. Although it is a competition, there is camaraderie among the lady anglers.

The cost to enter the tournament is $450 per boat for up to three anglers. Other anglers may be added at $50 each (six-woman crew maximum per boat).

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top-three teams with the most billfish release points. Anglers who boat the three heaviest tuna, dolphin and wahoo will also receive cash prizes.

There are added entry levels/calcuttas for billfish releases, tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Girls 16 and younger may compete in the junior angler division.

“A lot of fish have been biting,” Conley said earlier this week. “There seems to be a good marlin bite. A ton of dolphin have been caught. Some tuna have been picked up and some wahoo have been picked up.”

Registration for the 2019 tournament will begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Bahia Marina. A captains’ meeting will follow. Anglers who are cancer survivors will be recognized during the kickoff Pink Party and food will be served. There will also be a silent auction

Anglers may fish one of three days: Thursday, Aug. 15, Friday, Aug. 16, or Saturday, Aug. 17. Weigh-ins will take place daily from 4-7:30 p.m. at the marina.

Pink Ribbon merchandise will be for sale near the weigh-in scale in the Bahia Marina/Fish Tales parking lot and several vendors will also have booths set up featuring art, clothing and jewelry. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. Donations will be accepted as well.

An awards luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 18, at Harrison’s Harbor Watch at the inlet in Ocean City, from noon to 2 p.m.

Women enjoy fishing in the tournament because it benefits a worthy cause — breast cancer research. Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for breast cancer research and program development as part of the “Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series” – an assortment of local activities to raise breast cancer awareness while garnering money for the organization.

Everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another and women enjoy participating in the tournament because the focus is on breast cancer and funds raised are used locally. They also like that it’s a women’s-only tournament.

The competition has grown since its inception. Eight boats participated in the first tournament.

Last year’s event was another record-setter, despite registering a few boats less than in 2017.

A total of 725 lady anglers fished on 149 boats during the 25th annual Open. A record $229,565 – an increase of about $6,600 from 2017 – was paid out to tournament winners.

But probably the most important number was the amount donated to the American Cancer Society. Event organizers presented $140,000 to the American Cancer Society.

“Donating $140,000 is absolutely incredible,” Conley said. “With the payout to the winners, to still raise that amount of money is a big deal.”

The mantra for the 25th annual Open was “March to a Million” and the goal was accomplished. Since 2005, the total donated to the American Cancer Society by the Harman family through the tournament and other events broke the $1 million mark.

“Anytime you can raise $1 million in a fishing tournament shows how much of a giving community this is,” Conley said. “Without a little help from everybody, we wouldn’t be able to make that donation.”

Mary Bellis, senior community development manager, Northeast Region, for the American Cancer Society Inc., was on hand for the 2018 tournament activities, weigh-ins and awards banquet.

“There was never any doubt that the ‘March to a Million’ would be exceeded,” Bellis said following the 2018 Open.

It was her first year as the American Cancer Society staff partner for the Poor Girls Open.

“It has been amazing to see the dedication and creativity of the Harman family and their entire team that has put on this popular event for 25 years,” she added.

“The planning and the work that goes into this first-class tournament is what keeps the anglers coming back year after year. The Pink Ribbon volunteers are a committed group of women, many of whom have been a part of these activities for decades,” Bellis said.

In 2004, the tournament was renamed to honor the founder of the event, the late Capt. Steve Harman.

He and his wife, Pam, started the Poor Girls Open in 1994 to provide women with an opportunity to compete for prizes and money in a ladies-only tournament, and to raise money for local charities.

Harman died in February 2004, so organizers thought it was appropriate the tournament be renamed in his memory.

“This tournament has been a family-run event since the beginning,” Bellis said earlier this week. “It is an example of the generosity of the Harman family. They have impacted many lives and have made a significant contribution to finding cures for breast cancer.”

This will be the first tournament without Kathleen Harman, who passed away on July 23 at the age of 92.

“We want to make this year in memory of her,” Conley said. “We’re hoping for a record number of boats and record donation again.”

Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for breast cancer research and program development as part of the “Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series” – an assortment of local activities to raise breast cancer awareness while garnering money for the organization.

The Open is the first event of the Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series.

Other events this year include a card game and party; mah-jongg and golf tournaments; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and run; pickleball round robin; and the Pamper Yourself For Charity Raffle.

For more information and to register for events, visit www.pinkribbonclassicevents.org.

Most of the events will take place in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Pink Ribbon Classic Series was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers. Since its inception, the series has raised about $3.6 million for breast cancer research, awareness, programs and services.

Some of the local programs and services available in this area include free wigs for patients and Road to Recovery, which connects local drivers with patients to transport them to and from treatment.

There is also the Hope Lodge, which provides lodging during treatment; Cancer Survivors Network available at www.cancer.org, a 24-hour-a-day cancer information center; and 1-800-227-2345 for patients to access ACS services.

In addition, resources for caregivers, information on screening and prevention, and referral to local, regional and national outlets is available.

This year, 5,290 women in Maryland will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Across the country, that number rises to 268,600, and an estimated 41,760 will die from the disease, according to the ACS.

For more information about the Poor Girls Open, call Bahia Marina at 410-289-7438.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.

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