poor girls open 2018 logo

(Aug. 17, 2018) Thursday was the first fishing day of the 25th annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open, and female anglers will have two more days – today and Saturday – to compete for cash prizes.

As of Thursday morning, 149 boats carrying 725 lady anglers have entered this year’s competition, although there is still time to register. Teams can sign up through Saturday, but are not eligible for the added entry-level calcuttas.

The entry fee is $450 per boat for up to three anglers. Additional anglers may be added at $50 each, with a maximum of six total per boat.

Teams have the option to fish one of the three tournament days: Thursday, Aug. 16, Friday, Aug. 17, or Saturday, Aug. 18. Weigh-ins will take place from 4-7:30 p.m. at Bahia Marina, 22nd Street, bayside. The ladies will be competing for an estimated $229,500 in prize money – a new tournament record.

The mantra for the 25th annual Open is “March to a Million.”

“The last 12 years we’ve raised $960,000 [for the American Cancer Society], so this year our goal is a million,” Earl Conley, co-director of the Poor Girls Open, said last week. “It should definitely happen. That’s pretty exciting.”

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.

“Ladies want to get involved because they know it’s for a cause,” Conley said.

Everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another and women like participating in the tournament because the focus is on breast cancer and funds raised are used locally, he added.

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

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top-three teams with the most billfish release points. White marlin and sailfish releases are worth 100 points each, while blue marlin and swordfish releases earn anglers 110 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.

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. 19, at Harrison’s Harbor Watch at the inlet in Ocean City, from noon to 2 p.m.

The competition has grown since its inception. Eight boats participated in the first tournament. Despite registering a couple boats less than in 2016, it was still a record year for the 2017 Open.

A record 765 lady anglers fished on 155 boats during the 24th annual Open. A total of $222,935 – a tournament record and an increase of about $33,000 from 2016 – was awarded to the winners.

To top it all off, event organizers presented a check for $125,000 to the American Cancer Society following the Open.

That donation brought the total donated by the Harman family through the tournament and other events since 2005 to about $960,000.

The donations from the Poor Girls Open support ACS breast cancer initiatives. This includes research, programs and services for patients and caregivers and transportation to treatment, said Mary Bellis, senior community development manager, Northeast Region, for the American Cancer Society Inc.

“It is an honor for the ACS to be the beneficiary of the generous donations of the Harman family,” she added.

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.

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; mahjong and golf tournaments; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and run; pickleball round robin and clinic; 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 $3.4 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; Road to Recovery, which connects local drivers with patients to transport them to and from treatment; and the Look Good Feel Better program available at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin and Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, which teaches patients how to cope with the cosmetic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation 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, 5,940 women in Maryland will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Across the country, that number rises to 266,120, and an estimated 40,920 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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