Event organizers respond to Redneck Fishing Tournament being cancelled

Local News

BATH, Ill.–“There’s no way that we can get back down on that parking lot,” said Betty DeFord, who created the Original Redneck Fishing Tournament.

“Even if it does go down, we’ve had three months of water on there, you’ll have sink holes and everything else,”DeFord said.

This is the first time in its 14 year history the Redneck Fishing Tournament has been cancelled. The Bath Village Board decided this week that postponing the late summer event wasn’t an option.

Who’s to say we couldn’t postpone it? Cause who’s to say when this water’s gonna stop. It’s the Good Lord above, you can’t fight Mother Nature.”

Betty Deford | Creator of Redneck Fishing Tournament

Jerry DeFord, Betty’s brother-in-law, owns Grand Island and a boat ramp on the Illinois River. He understands why the tournament couldn’t go on this year.

“The water’s too high and what happens is if the water spreads out like it is now, the fish will have everywhere to go. If the water is down to normal pool, then the fish are concentrated in one area, which is this river,” Jerry said.

The flooding has also caused damage to boat ramps and roads near the river, which would make it extremely difficult for boaters to get in and out.

“When the water is up and people wanna put their boats in, the ground is really soft. Mason County sits on top of an aquifer,” Jerry said.

Josh Renken has helped with the tournament for years and says holding it would’ve cost even more problems.

“It’s gonna cause a lot of damage if everybody uses this boat ramp. That’s the parking lot where people would normally park right there. I normally park my boat on the other side of that pole right there when the water’s at normal level,” Renken said.

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