Outdoor events draw hundreds to area

Published 11:54 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

A trio of events brought hundreds of people to Warren County’s lakes and wetlands Saturday.

About 80 people flocked to Tara Wildlife for its annual birding weekend and outdoor tours, said Tara president Gilbert Rose, who was glad to share the spotlight with the other outdoor events.

“We’re trying to dispel the myth that you can’t get near the Mississippi or on it,” Rose said.

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Bird watchers got an up-close look at several species of native birds, but some wildlife was scarce because of low water conditions, said tour guide Bruce Reid with the Lower Mississippi Conservation Committee.

“We’re having to struggle to find groups of wading birds because the water is so low,” Reid said.

A bass tournament fundraiser at Chotard Lake was the biggest draw of the weekend’s aquatic activities. About 500 people attended the tournament sponsored by Yokena Bass Club, said event organizer Butch Spivey Jr.

The tournament raised just short of $17,000 for Special Olympics, said Pauline Vessell with the organization. Money will be used to cover costs of attending Special Olympic events, she said.

“It was a really good event,” Vessell said of the fundraiser.

Nearly 115 fisherman in 57 boats competed in the tournament, Spivey said.

“I was very tickled,” Spivey said. “The more boats we have the more money we raise for the Special Olympics.”

Jeff Carruthers of Vicksburg reeled in a 6 pound 10 ounce fish to take home the top prize, Spivey said.

About 150 racers and as many spectators lined the shore of Eagle Lake Landing early Saturday for the annual Gator Bait Triathlon, event organizers said. Racers competed in open water swimming, running and cycling.