ALEXANDRIA, VA (August 28, 2008) – The winner of the national Take Me Fishing™ baseball sweepstakes is William Rocco of Reading, Penn., who beat out baseball fans from 32 other minor league and independent teams to take home the grand prize. Rocco and his family will be presented with a 17-foot Lowe boat and trailer during a special on-field presentation tonight at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I was speechless when I found out. It was quite a shock,” said Rocco, a Reading resident for the past 15 years and scientist with a local pharmaceutical company. “I’m really excited about starting a new hobby.”
A regular at the Reading Phillies games, Rocco said his son Steve was the one who spotted the Take Me Fishing booth at a July game and prompted him to enter. Steve, a 17-year-old avid angler, spends most of his weekends fishing with friends.
Sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) in collaboration with Minor League Baseball, the contest generated more than 55,000 entries from the 33 participating teams.
“We collected nearly three times the number of entries we did last year and participants were genuinely interested in learning more about boating and fishing,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “We congratulate William on his big win and know that he will enjoy sharing time on the water with his family.”
The new, 17-foot Lowe Stinger 175 sports an 85-inch beam for exceptional stability while fishing and running. The decks provide large storage boxes, an extra-long nine-foot six-inch rod locker, plus two 44-inch, 23 gallon divided livewell/baitwell combos featuring reliable plumbing and timers. The total package also features a Mercury 50ELPTO motor, trailer, fish finder and trolling motor, and carries a retail value of $14,395.
“We’re pleased to present William and his family with our grand prize package,” said RBFF Board Member and Lowe Boats District Manager Jason Scruggs. “We’re proud to be a part of the national Take Me Fishing campaign which works to get more people out on the water boating and fishing, and helps generate funds for aquatic conservation projects across the country.”
Rocco, who grew up about an hour south of the Adirondacks in N.Y., did a lot of fishing as a boy, but has not been able to go much lately. He looks forward to taking his wife – who was out shopping for a trailer hitch the morning after they heard about their big win – son and 14-year-old daughter out on the water.
“I think fishing will be a nice diversion from the daily grind,” he said. “It’s a good way for families to hang out together and get away from it all and it will be an adventure for all of us.”
Where will they go on their first boating and fishing outing? “Probably Blue Marsh Lake, outside of Reading,” Rocco added.
“We are very excited that an angler from Pennsylvania won this great prize,” PA Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austen said. “We’ve been working with RBFF over the last several years as part of their national campaign to reconnect people with the great recreational pastimes of fishing and boating. We wish Mr. Rocco and his family many happy and memorable days of fishing and boating in Pennsylvania and want to thank Lowe Boats and RBFF for making this happen for them.”
The centerpiece of the Take Me Fishing campaign is TakeMeFishing.org – the most comprehensive boating and fishing Web site available nationwide. Whether it’s planning a trip, buying a fishing license, designing a boat, or checking out the latest equipment, TakeMeFishing.org has something for boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels.
RBFF is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to increase participation in recreational angling and boating. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs, including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers' Legacy™.