Smiles International Foundation changes lives and the organization will be prominent in Cabo during the WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot Nov. 3-7. Team TNT Texans donated a big chunk of the $30,000 raised last year for the organization during the Tuna Jackpot, kicking in $10,000! Look for the Smiles folks at Capt. Tony’s, where signups for fundraisers such as the Grand Raffle, silent auction and Cabo Escape/Costa charters and clothing sales will be held during checkins
BY PAT McDONELL
Tuna Jackpot Director
Smiles International Foundation will again be an important part of the Cabo Tuna Jackpot in 2020, even more so than in previous years. While the tourney cannot host gatherings of any kind, fundraisers separate from the event can be held off the marina and its walkway, the malecon.
In the case of Smiles, their fundraising efforts will be centered at Capt. Tony’s restaurant over the early part of the tournament: Tuesday from 1-6 p.m. and Wednesday, also from 1-6. The two Cabo Escape/Costa Charters donated by Wild Tours will be the focal point of Smiles fundraising and fun. on the two competition-day mornings.
Because of health protocols, everything this year had to be changed. This is how the checkin, the Grand Raffle, silent auction and Cabo Escape start boat charters will unfold.
What will not change is that every dollar you pay for any ticket, or just donate, goes 100 percent to surgical supplies for two annual clinics in Cabo. More than 30 surgeries on two dozen children with cleft palate deformities are done at each clinic.
Last year we raised $30,000 in a variety of ways. Here’s the game plan this year. It also includes valuable info about checkin that may answer your questions.
CHECKIN ABOVE, SMILES BELOW – The two Smiles tables and staff will be set up at Capt. Tony’s in front of the Famous Tuna Wall. Meanwhile checkin will be going on upstairs at the Galati Yacht office accessed from a stairway to the left of the Pisces office just around the corner. Anglers will be hanging out at the bars, or dining, waiting for their ONE team representative to walk up to check-in to handle things. Again, only one team rep is allowed upstairs under health protocols agreed to by ALL Cabo fishing tournaments this year.
While your team rep is up at the Galati balcony checking in and gathering up all the goodies for the other team members, you can dine or have a drink at the local spots – just be sure to go into Capt. Tony’s where Smiles personnel are set up.
There, you can:
– Buy start boat charter tickets for the Cabo Escape for $40 per person each day. Space is limited. Costa’s Bob Hoose will be aboard holding drawings, and there will be light breakfast snacks (fruits and breads, coffee, and mimosas). It’s a must do if you are not fishing.
– Buy Cabo Tuna Jackpot clothing.
– Check out the silent auction offerings. They are available only until Wednesday evening, so make your bids. John Pettey pendant gold jewelry, a trip to Kingfisher Lodge in Alaska, artwork, and high-end tackle packages are offered.
– Fill out your Kingfisher Guess the Weight slip. Unlike other years, THAT slip with your name and team number on it, is also YOUR DRAWING TICKET for most of the drawings. All winners will be announced on the Cabo Tuna Jackpot Facebook page and the prizes can be picked up the next day at the Pisces Fleet Sportfishing office. Please make sure you wear your wristband and have ID.
– The exception is the Grand Raffle. Tickets for the Grand Raffle drawing are $5 for one or $20 for 5. The prize package includes 4 Accurate reels, 4 Penn rods, a free entry into next year’s event, 4 stays at the Hotel Tesoro, 4 pair of Costa sunglasses, 4 SBK tackle boxes, 4 tackle packs from AFW wire, Seaguar flouro, Gamakatsu hooks and more.
The sales of tickets for the Grand Raffle drawing, the silent auction bids at Capt. Tony’s, and the Cabo Escape charters are fundraising duties have been transferred over to Smiles. Keep in mind, there are limited numbers of spots (less than half of the normal 190 spots each trip) on the Cabo Escape this year due to health protocols in place for all public facilities. And be aware the two-deck luxury party ship does not leave from the fuel dock as in past years. The year trip departs at 6 a.m. at the beautiful Wild Tours terminal in front of the Breathless Hotel and returns there at 8 a.m.
This year Smiles will be presenting a check for $22,000 to the owners of the charitable Hospital de Especialidades. The money goes to the acquisition of a backup generator for the hospital, which twice a year hosts the Smiles surgical team.
The hospital’s Dr. Alejandro Avalos and Dr. Ibarra will receive the check.
Dr. Jeff Moses of Smiles said the backup power system created by the new generator is necessary to ensure the safety of delicate and fragile children’s cases during anesthesia and recovery.
The purchase of the generator was made possible by the generosity of the Texas-based TNT Texans (who won $40,400 in last year’s wahoo optional), who donated $10,000 after hearing of the need for the backup generator last year. It was donated on the condition that Smiles find matching funds.
“Well, we got to work and through a combination of donations personally, Rotary Club charitable fundraising events, and finally through more matching funds from the Rotary District 5340 we were able to reach an amount surpassing the challenge, and fully funded the generator,” said Dr. Moses of Smiles. “Special recognition will go to the TNT Texans team for their special hearts and sharing their sportfishing bounty with unfortunate children of the world.”
As Moses pointed out, the surgeries change the lives of the children, the families and even the communities they come from throughout Baja. Dr. Moses and his wife Maribel emphasize that all funds generated from these activities go directly to children’s surgery to give them a chance at achieving a healthy and more normal ability to eat, breath, hear and SMILE.
All fishing teams are encouraged to explore the Smiles International Foundation’s Website: www.SmilesInternationalFoundation.org.