Bucks Skeeter Yamaha

by Dan O’Sullivan

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Let the Fishing Begin – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

One of the most frustrating aspects of life today is the fact that we seem to not be able to find the time to smell roses or have the time to just experience those around us.

When I was a kid, we lived in a small community outside of Auburn, Calif. called Christian Valley, our street connected at the bottom to another street that dead ended into the neighborhood play are known as “The Meadows.”  The Meadows was nothing more than a large wooded area surrounded by hills and trees.  In that area we would build bicycle and motorcycle trails, rope swings over the creek and spend a lot of our play time there.

Our neighborhood was full of children that were like ages.  These were the kids we played sports with, built forts with, rode bikes with, fished with; fought with and got into trouble.

My wife had a similar circumstance in her neighborhood on the other side of the city of Auburn.  She had a lake, a golf course and

hills and dales for her and her group of friends to run free until well after dark.

They were our community.

Now it seems, those days are lost to most of us.

Our network of friends are spread far and wide, and we interact with them primarily on social networking.  Gone are the days of

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Kids Fishing Day Park – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

being able to let the kids run out the front door in the summer, expecting to see them at lunchtime, then again for dinner.

Part of that is because of the speed of life, and the other part is because of the reality of society today.  Too many things can happen that we dare not think of; even in our own neighborhoods.

My family got to feel a sense of that community atmosphere once again when Skeet and Kim Reese hosted their third Skeet Reese Kids Fishing Day in the community of Meadow Vista; near where they make their home.  Ironically, this community is the exact same one that I lived in, went to school in and where my parents settled after moving to Northern California in the late 70’s.

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What it is all About – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

It appears that not much has changed in that community.

It doesn’t surprise me to see the Reese’s give back to their community.  They are the type of people who are willing to invest into the lives of the people they love, and the community they choose to call home.  Having known him for many years through the Northern California fishing scene, and having worked with them for several years, I’ve seen the Reese’s heart, and it poured out Saturday to the more than 2000 people who came to Meadow Vista Park.

Like the past two years, the event; which for 2013 included a car show, was once again a fundraiser for the Meadow Vista Community Center.  The proceeds of the raffle, auction, car show and vendor booth spaces would once again go to the process of finishing the center; which is nearly ready to open one of its wings thanks in part to the donations from the past two years’ Kids Fishing day events.

With all of that as a part of the event, there is a more heartfelt purpose behind it for the Reese’s.  For Skeet himself, it is sharing the joy of a sport that he connected to as a boy and has been able to turn into a career.  Watching him share the love of fishing with the kids fishing and their parents around that little pond is evident, and to hear the emotion in his voice as he explains what is at the heart of it for him personally; to see more kids experience his love of fishing.

For Kim, it is a chance to give of herself to her community, and to her own family in a way that she is so skilled at doing.  Her effort

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Skeet Reese Emceeing the Raffle – photo by Emberlie O’Sullivan

at coordinating the vendors, organizing the activities and registering the kids for fishing has happened all while busily taking care of her girls and helping with the remodeling of their family home while Skeet has been busy working towards what he hopes to be a second Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

While they are at the center of it, their family and immediate friends who come to help setup, operate and break down the event are extensions of them.  Their group of friends are the kind of people who make you feel at home as if you’ve known them their whole lives.  Whether it has been family events, Bassmaster Classics or a Kids Fishing Day, they are always there to share in the cause.

Along with them, the community leaders and volunteers from businesses and organizations make themselves and their resources available as well.  Their equipment, publications and manpower is there to help make sure that the event goes smoothly.

The attendees know it as well.  With other kids fishing events being held in communities nearby, this is one that is looked forward to and for good reason.  The combination of the Reese’s desire to share with their community, and the volunteering from family, friends and the community all work to make sure there are games, bounce houses, food vendors, face painting exhibitions from local gyms and dog shows and so much more.

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Skeet and Kim Reese and Some of the Volunteers that Make it Possible – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

Of course there are the products donated by Reese’s fishing sponsors, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eagle Claw / Wright & McGill Co. and Lazer TroKar, Pure Fishing, Wiley X and more  for the fishing.  Along with that are donations from local outfitters, retail stores and services for the raffle and the auction; all of which raise funds for the Meadow Vista Community Center.  Those donations and the participation of everyone likely raised several thousand dollars toward that cause.

With all of that aside, the most impressive part is a display of an American tradition that has seemingly faded away with the passing of time.  That tradition is the sense of community that has truly made raising a family great in our country.  It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, and with this event, we see that exhibited.  When friends, family and community leaders come together to raise up a place where people can re-visit that time when community mattered more than anything other than your own families.

For that day, we saw that again, and at the center of it all was the pulse driven by a couple looking to share some of themselves with their community.

At the core of it all is the heartbeat of the Reese’s – and their love of community.