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Smiles changes lives and anglers can help fundraising for its work


Team TNT Texas were a part of the $30,000 raised last year, donating $10,000 toward the use of backup generator the Cabo hospital which donates its facilities twice a year; Grand Raffle, silent auction and Cabo Escape/Costa charters and clothing sales raise the bucks at the Tuna Jackpot


BY PAT McDONELL
Director, Cabo Tuna Jackpot

Smiles International Foundation will be an important part of the Cabo Tuna Jackpot in 2020, 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 two days, Tuesday for the early checkin 1-6 p.m. and Wednesday, 1-6. And on the two Cabo Escape/Costa Charters donated by Wild Tours.


A CHILD BEFORE and after surgery. Smilesinternationalfoundation.org holds clinics in Mexico and Baja and Costa Rica. Two are held in Cabo.

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.


AT THIS year’s November 2020 WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot Fishing Tournament , Dr. Jeff Moses, WON and Rotary Officials will present the Owners of the Charitable Hospital de Especialidades, Dr. Alejandro Avalos (seen here with Dr. Moses), and Dr. Ibarra a check in the amount of $22,000 to purchase and install this “Power-for-Smiles” system before their next mission clinic at their specialty hospital.

While your rep is up at the Galati balcony checking in the team and gathering up all the goodies for their other team members, you can dine or have a drink at the local spots but 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. $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.


TEAM TNT from Texas donated $10,000 last year, on the proviso that the same amount be matched. It was, and the generator for the hospital was purchased.

- Buy Cabo Tuna Jackpot clothing.

- Look at the silent auction offerings that 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 Fish slip. Unlike other years, THAT slip with yiour name and team number on it is also YOUR DRAWING TICKET for any drawings, all announced on the Cabo Tuna Jackpot Facebook 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.


A TRIP TO KINGFISHER LODGE IN SITKA, ALASKA, a Jon Pettey solid gold pendant, artwork of yellowfin donated by Texas angler James Hemby painted by official CCA artist Anastasia Muscik and other items will be in the silent auction. Bids will be taken at both checkins 1-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

- Buy Grand Raffle tickets for the drawing, $5 or one, $20 for 5, with the package including 4 Accurate reels, 4 Penn rods, a free entry into next years event, 4 stays at the Hotel Tesoro, 4 pair of Costa sunglasses, 4 SBK tackle boxes, and 4 tackle packs from SWR wire Seaguar flouro, Gamakatsu hooks and more. Gamakatsu.

The selling 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 years past, it leaves at 6 a.m. at the beautiful Wild Tours terminal in front of the Breathless Hotel and returns there at 8 a.m.


A TRIP TO KINGFISHER LODGE IN SITKA3, ALASKA, a Jon Pettey solid gold pendant, artwork of yellowfin donated by Texas angler James Hemby painted by official CCA artist Anastasia Muscik and other items will be in the silent auction. Bids will be taken at both checkins 1-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

This year Smiles will be presenting a check for $22,000 to the owners of the charitable Hospital de Especialidades. Dr. Alejandro Avalos and Dr. Ibarra will receive the check but in fact they have already ordered the backups generator that was so desperately needed for its surgical teams. The Texas-based TNT Texans (who won $40,400 in the wahoo optional) 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. Moses said the main hospital that was offering free use of their facilities to the Smiles surgical team was in need of a power system back up generator to ensure safety with the delicate and fragile children’s cases during anesthesia and recovery, one of the members of that winning team stepped forward with a challenge donation of $10,000.


A TRIP TO KINGFISHER LODGE IN SITKA, ALASKA, a Jon Pettey solid gold pendant, artwork of yellowfin donated by Texas angler James Hemby painted by official CCA artist Anastasia Muscik and other items will be in the silent auction. Bids will be taken at both checkins 1-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

"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. Jeff Moses of Smiles. "At the tournament, at some point, we will be presenting the oversized mock check, but in fact we already have bought the generator and it will be soon in operation after it is shipped."

He added, "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, and the families. 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.

Other fishing teams are encouraged to explore the Smiles International Foundation’s Website: smilesinternationalfoundation.org.