Jim Kirkman felt right at home last week, despite being 1,500 miles from Dallas, Texas where he lives.
In fact, the angler joked that Baldwinsville must really be home to Texan natives because of the welcome he received from the community.
"I am so impressed with how friendly the people are here," he said with a smile.
Kirkman and his tournament partner, Chad Edwards, who is also from Texas, were stationed along the Seneca River during last week's 2009 Northeast Regional Catch And Release Professionals (CARP) Tournament Series. Kirkman said the two arrived in Baldwinsville Tuesday, two days before the tournament began, and found a green pasture along the river to set up camp. While the duo thought they were in a park, turns out they were on private property.
"The owner came out and asked what we were doing," Kirkman said. "When we told him we were here for the carp tournament, he was more than happy to let us stay."
Down the river from the Texas duo, Baldwinsville Mayor Joseph Saraceni and his brother, Anthony, were casting their lines. As of 6 p.m. Thursday, Team Saraceni had caught many catfish, but only three qualifying carp. When both their lines began beeping, however, the two rushed into action to retrieve their two catches, one of which was a large mirror carp. The team's runner, Max Hogan, had his work cut out for him trying to net the catches.
Celebrations for the tournament kicked off last Wednesday with the peg draw and welcoming ceremony. Kirkman said he enjoyed the bagpipe marching band that was in full Scottish garb for the parade and noticed the flags of all participants' countries were represented. Overall, 42 two-person teams participated in this year's event, which was an increase of one team from last year.