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Published: Tuesday, 4/24/2012

Something fishy about this rivalry

Maumee-Perrysburg to battle on river

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR

As rivalries go, Maumee vs. Perrysburg has never lacked the energy or the intensity that gives these spirited relationships their charm. The two have a rich history, like the Hatfields and the McCoys, but minus the gunfire and the mayhem.

Well, someone decided that the Perrysburg-Maumee skirmishes on the football field, the soccer pitch, the tennis court, the softball diamond, the pommel horse, and in the orchestra hall were not enough. They needed a new front on which to compete against each other.

So on Saturday, with the river that divides the two communities providing the stage, Maumee and Perrysburg will joust yet again, this time in a fishing tournament. We can only assume that the Marquess of Queensberry rules will assure us fair play prevails.

The angling angle was hatched by Brett Queen, who works at the junior high in Perrysburg and is an avid fisherman. He suggested just such a fishing match on the Maumee River, and Perrysburg superintendent Tom Hosler liked the idea.

"When it's Perrysburg and Maumee, you can never have enough competition," Hosler said. "It seemed like a fun concept, and something that might attract some kids who might not otherwise be involved in the more traditional competition between the two schools."

Hosler contacted his counterpart at Maumee, Greg Smith, and the tournament was set in motion. The expertise of Gary Lowry at Maumee Tackle was utilized to craft a workable format and a set of guidelines, and the nature of the rivalry took over from there.

"Of course, there was some good-natured banter back and forth," Hosler said, "but we agreed it was a great addition to the rivalry, and something new and different. Plus, if you can get in the river for four hours of fishing, it's hard for that to be anything but a good experience."

Smith said the tournament was set up to allow for maximum participation. It is open to students and staff at both schools, plus friends of those participants.

"This is a friendly rivalry and a casual competition, so it goes hand-in-hand with what we've been trying to do to bring the two communities closer together," Smith said.

"I'm a recreational fisherman, at best, but my hope is that this event might spur some kids to try fishing and experience something different. We have this river and some great fishing right here, but sometimes it's so close you don't even notice it."

Hosler is a more serious fisherman who makes regular visits to the river in the summer months, and he said he hopes the tournament will get some people from both communities down to the river at a time when the crush of fishermen working the spring walleye run has subsided.

"When they see all of those fishermen lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder, it can be pretty intimidating and maybe keep some people away, but this type of event should be a neat way to get them introduced to fishing in the river."

The tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the Rotary Pavilion at Side Cut Park serving as the base of operations. An unlimited number of teams of two can compete, with details and information available at the Perrysburg schools Web site. Teams must be registered by the end of the school day on Thursday.

A trophy for the winning school is in the works, and since the Ohio High School Athletic Association does not have any licensed fishing tournament officials, Hosler said he would volunteer his services as an "impartial" judge when the fish are measured.

"I guess what that means is, now we have a built-in excuse if things don't go our way," Smith joked.

Hosler had fired an earlier salvo in Maumee's direction as the angling trash talk commenced. "Even if Maumee wins, everyone knows that the fish caught on the Perrysburg side of the river taste the best," he proclaimed.

In the spirit of the rivalry, we can only assume he's talking about that ribbon of water that on Saturday all Yellow Jackets will refer to as the Perrysburg River, and not the Maumee.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.



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