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Port O’Connor Celebrates Independence Day

Archived in the category: Events, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Jul 16 - 0 Comments
Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce Annual Fireworks Show on King Fisher Beach Photo courtesy of  Brad Martin Photography, Victoria, TX

Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce Annual Fireworks Show on King Fisher Beach
Photo courtesy of Brad Martin Photography, Victoria, TX

A Fabulous Fourth of July! by Kelly Gee

The history of America is rich and varied. The celebration of July 4th brings all the colors and textures of that history into the celebration of our independence. Pride in our country is evident in the bunting draped homes and city buildings, the flags flying proudly, and the firecrackers flashing in the night skies of every small community, town and large city as citizens cheer with oohs and aahs.

July 4th celebrates the adoption of our Declaration of Independence (1776) – a major accomplishment in the birth of our nation. For many years Americans did not celebrate the 4th, but President John Adams began inspiring the country to celebrate July 4th in 1817. Many years later the Congress voted to make it a national holiday. From that day until this, individuals, families, and communities have contributed their unique traditions, customs and culture to the landscape of the American holiday.

Early Chinese fireworks makers brought their best work to the forefront for the revelry; European immigrants brought foods and family traditions to the shared merriment with dancing and music, sausage and cheese making, festive cooking and décor, family gatherings and commemoration of the history of the struggles in their new homeland, America.

Parades began in the cities and summer rodeos and round-ups came from the landscape of the west. Traditions, customs, folklore, and practices were shaped and melded in the melting pot of a growing country with diversity and cooperation working together. Many languages, variety of colors and cultures, fusing of music and foods of great diversity all add to the landscape of a truly unique American holiday.

In Port O’Connor, July 4th, 2016 was no different, and the result was simply amazing. Festivities began on Saturday, July 2nd with the Port O’Connor Volunteer Fire Department sponsoring an early morning run and then serving a record numbers of people massive amounts of food to raise money for better community service. Business owners, including POC Rod and Gun and Speedy Stop, reported huge crowds. Rentals were virtually unavailable; the Sheriff’s Department utilized more service and man hours than any recent year’s account; water demand was high and the digital network of cell and cable was taxed to the limit. Beach front and nearby property owners saw large crowds and increased vehicle and foot traffic over recent years.

The fireworks show was larger and more spectacular than ever and was enjoyed by record numbers. It appears our community was pushing maximum capacity. Still, young and old alike celebrated and commemorated a great nation.

No matter how many media outlets report negative stories of race conflicts, political corruption, cultural clashes and economic issues, the story of the nation remains the same. Passionate people fought to establish a home and country that reflected their thirst for freedom and choice and struggled to establish a great nation.

In the scope of history, our country is young and still growing. While the growing pains may be distressful and often discouraging, we have an impressive history leading to a great future and positive tomorrow.

Each of us has a duty to actively participate. Vote, volunteer, serve, get involved, and yes, wave your flag and shoot those rockets high. This amazing country, we love, The United States of America, is worth celebrating.

Hope you didn’t miss the celebration!

David Moreno watches the Port O’Connor Fireworks Show -Photo by Erica Moreno

David Moreno watches the Port O’Connor Fireworks Show
-Photo by Erica Moreno



Sparkles Over The Bay

Have you ever given it much thought of how our awesome fireworks show takes place, how it is funded,who does it? If your answer is “not really” well that is the very answer that I would have given up until a few years ago when I was asked to come on board as the President of the Chamber.

It is now a little over three years later, and I must say I never dreamed of being in this position this long. But when you have such a great group of people, it makes it a lot easier to make things happen and get things done.

So, back to the fireworks over Matagorda Bay. The first year the show magically happened. I had very little hands on with the event. I remember that night thinking how easy this all happened and being impressed with how smoothly it all happened! Year two I did get my hands in it a little more –just enough to see that a lot of folks make this happen and do not expect any recognition – along with ALL the donors. So year three – I made a decision to be in the mix of things for most of the day.

I will try to recap how all of this takes place. Darla Parker gets up at dawn and goes down to get the vendors situated. In the past years there was no organized area so she has taken this on along with taking care of the vendors turning off generators once show starts. Years before, generators ran during the whole event, causing some folks to be unhappy.

Around 10:00 a.m. the fireworks setup crew, which consists of about 10 people, and the grounds cleanup people start their day in the terrible heat. The setup takes about seven hours to complete. Then they have to stay and remove all of the tubes and debris from the pier.

I rode down to the beach area at 11:45 p.m. to find them still loading the tubes back into the truck and the cleanup crew still taking trash to the dumpsters.

The next morning at 8:30 -12 of us met back at the beach for the final cleanup. While I am there I see a message on FB letting me and the world know that the beach had trash. I kindly asked that they please give us a little time to get the job finished as we were working our way down the beach. Twelve people cleaning up after 1000’s of folks – well you can only imagine!

I do not want to leave anyone out when I say Thank You .So please know that everyone that had anything to do with making this show happen, you are greatly appreciated and the Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce wants to give you a HUGE THANK YOU!

This year we decided to do a raffle to help us offset our expenses. This brought in approximately $3,000.00.

If you enjoyed the show and would like to make a donation please send to Chamber of Commerce, P.O.Box 701, POC TX 77982. This event is 100% donations . We will also be looking for folks to help with next years event. The more help we have the less work it makes for all of us involved.

Kudos to all that donated to this event in anyway –it would not happen without your support!

Mary Jo Walker and Chamber Team

2016-4th-Dolphin-Thank-You

Seadrift Celebrates Shrimpfest

Archived in the category: Events, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Jul 16 - 0 Comments
Congratulations, Callie Wright! Miss Shrimpfest 2016

Congratulations, Callie Wright!
Miss Shrimpfest 2016

Little Miss Shrimpfest Pageant Winners Christina Ragusin - Little Miss Shrimpfest & Best Dressed McKenna Boedecker - First Runner Up Brianna Castillo - Second Runner Up

Little Miss Shrimpfest Pageant Winners
Christina Ragusin – Little Miss Shrimpfest & Best Dressed
McKenna Boedecker – First Runner Up
Brianna Castillo – Second Runner Up

Other Pageant Winners:
Baby Mister Shrimpfest – Michael Patrick Brown III
Baby Miss Shrimpfest – Paislee Maikoeter
Tiny Miss Shrimpfest – Victoria Rodriguez
Teeny Miss Shrimpfest – Paige Davenport

5K
2016 Shrimpfest 5K By the Bay Run/Walk Winners

Female Division
Ages 20-29 1st – Whitney Drew; 2nd- Candice Maddux

Ages 30-39 1st – Ashley Wooters; 2nd – Tiara Procyk;
3rd- Elizabeth McDaniel

Ages 40-49 1st – Margaret Schupbach; 2nd- Diana Gates;
3rd – Carrie Caruso

Ages 50-59 1st – Silvia Gonzalez; 2nd- Sylvia Loya

Ages 60-69 1st- Chris Scroggs; 2nd- Barbara Campbell;
3rd – Joanne Mueller

Ages 70-75 1st – Muriel Costello; 2nd – Reese Vaughn

Male Division

Ages 9 & under 1st – Brayden Brown (1 mile);
1st – Levi Strauss (5K)

Ages 10- 14 1st – Keaton Cady; 2nd – Spencer Allen;
3rd- Ayden Maddux

Ages 15-19 1st- Benny Stalcup

Ages 20-29 1st – Cody Maddux

Ages 30-39 1st – Michael Brown

Ages 40-49 1st- Michael Allen; 2nd- Bart Strauss;
3rd- Jerry White

Ages 50-59 1st – Randall Goode

Ages 60-69 1st Mike Mueller

Ages 70-79 1st – Reese Stalcup; 2nd- Bob Melnar

Shrimpfest Shrimp Eating Contest:
1st – Ty (Big Country) Weltel
2nd – Marcus Carabajal

Shrimpfest Volleyball Tournament Winners “Above The Net” Niko Salinas, Jacqulynn Pacini, Gianna Salinas, Josh Fox, Michael Olvera, Paige Poth

Shrimpfest Volleyball Tournament Winners “Above The Net”
Niko Salinas, Jacqulynn Pacini, Gianna Salinas,
Josh Fox, Michael Olvera, Paige Poth

Shrimpfest Gumbo Cook-off Winner Team Shore Nuff Good

Shrimpfest Gumbo Cook-off Winner
Team Shore Nuff Good

1st Place Horseshoe Winners Rhonda Braun (Seadrift) & Laurie Luna (Houston)

1st Place Horseshoe Winners
Rhonda Braun (Seadrift) & Laurie Luna (Houston)

2nd Place Horseshoe Winners Briana Florus and Mandi Prichard (Columbus)

2nd Place Horseshoe Winners
Briana Florus and Mandi Prichard (Columbus)


1st Place Washers - Ben Plummer, Ronnie Gooden

1st Place Washers –
Ben Plummer, Ronnie Gooden

2nd Place Washers Rusty Knezek, Mark Tobola

2nd Place Washers
Rusty Knezek, Mark Tobola


The inaugural Shrimpfest Kayak Fishing Tournament had 23 participants; 16 of them were Veterans. Heroes of the Water-Coastal Bend Chapter came from Corpus and brought kayaks for ten folks to use. Redfish: 1st place Jacoby Bussell; 2nd- Angel Nguyen; 3rd- Rene Rodriguez. Trout: 1st place Rene Rodriguez; 2nd & 3rd- Eric Sancez

The inaugural Shrimpfest Kayak Fishing Tournament had 23 participants; 16 of them were Veterans. Heroes of the Water-Coastal Bend Chapter came from Corpus and brought kayaks for ten folks to use. Redfish: 1st place Jacoby Bussell; 2nd- Angel Nguyen; 3rd- Rene Rodriguez. Trout: 1st place Rene Rodriguez; 2nd & 3rd- Eric Sancez



1st Annual Shrimpfest Fishing Tournament

Sponsored By Bay Flats Lodge

Winners Results:

Combined Stringer:
1st place- 34.37lbs-$6,300
Team Waterloo – Jimmy Burns, Michael Urban, Brett Caron,
Bartt Caron

2nd place-34.12lbs- $3,150
Team Fish Hawgs – Benji Ondreas Cody Barton, Bobby Lambright
Remington Maddux

3rd Place-32.18lbs- $1,050
Team Slow Roll – Chris Castillo, Bert Allison, Daigen Barnes,
Mike Massey

Big Red:

1st Place-7.38lbs- $1,085
Team Hawg Hunters – Marco Martinez, Daniel Sertuche

2nd place-7.30lbs-$465
Team Fish Hawgs – Benji Ondreas, Cody Barton, Bobby Lambright, Remington Maddux

Big Trout:

1st Place-5.51lbs-$1,015
Team Slow Roll – Chris Castillo, Bert Allison, Daigen Barnes,
Mike Massey

2nd Place-5.17lbs-$435
Team Dow #2 – Brian Gonzales, Joe Ramirez, Ruben Rios,
Felix Vasquez

Redfish Spot Pot:
1st place- 10 spots- $700
Team Hawg Hunters – Marco Martinez, Daniel Sertuche

Big Other:

1st place- 22.70lb Gar- $625
Team Fish Hawgs – Benji Ondreas, Cody Barton,
Bobby Lambright,, Remington Maddux

Shrimpfest Open Fishing Tournament Winners - 1st Place Team Waterloo Bart Caron, Brett Caron, Jimmy Burns, Michael Urban (Names of members of both teams not necessarily in order as pictured.)

Shrimpfest Open Fishing Tournament Winners – 1st Place Team Waterloo
Bart Caron, Brett Caron, Jimmy Burns, Michael Urban
(Names of members of both teams not necessarily in order as pictured.)

2nd Place Open Fishing Tournament - Team Fish Hawgs Cody Barton, Remington Maddux, Bobby Lambright, Benji Ondreas

2nd Place Open Fishing Tournament – Team Fish Hawgs
Cody Barton, Remington Maddux, Bobby Lambright, Benji Ondreas

Shrimpfest Kids’ Fishing Tournament Results
Total kids participating: 38 (20 were girls)
Age breakout. 2-5: 13. 6-9: 19. 10-12: 6.
Total fish caught: 73

Winners:

2-5 largest fish: Anabel Longoria, Roystn Semmler,
Crockett Guenther (8 1/2 inches)

2-5 smallest fish: Roystn Semmler (4 1/2 inches)

6-9 largest fish: Saige Carter (13 1/2 inches)

6-9 smallest fish: Adysen Janacek ( 5 inches)

10-12 largest fish: Laney Hammond, Keagan Taylor (13 inches)

10-12 smallest fish: Alyssa Reyna (5 inches)

Largest crab: Tatum Semmler (6 1/2 inches)

Smallest crab: Keagan Tayler, Jaxson Key (1/4 inches)

Hard luck presented by TPWD: Clay Brumfield

Most Fish any age: Saige Carter (15 fish)

Most Crab: Jaxson Key (6 crabs)

2nd largest fish any age: Laney Hammond, Keagan Taylor

3rd largest fish any age: Beth Boone, Layton Davenport

shrimpfest-golf-carts
Shrimpfest Great Golf Cart Scavenger Hunt

The heat didn’t deter the scavenger hunt teams from coming out to test their detective skills on Saturday, June 18, at the Seadrift Chamber of Commerce Golf Cart Hunt. With twelve teams participating, people of all ages tried to find objects around the town. There were teams like “Czechs on the Prowl” to “Puppy Monkey Baby” buzzing around enjoying the challenge.

In the end, two teams ended with the top scores. First place went to the ““Blue Ninjas with a score of 275 and second went to “Find the Flamingo” with 265.

There will be another scavenger hunt in December, so come join in on the fun!

Island Life… by Clint Bennetsen

Archived in the category: Featured Writers, General Info, Island Life
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Jul 16 - 0 Comments

Hot Weather Means Beach Time

Greetings from the island everyone, I hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful July 4th holiday. The fireworks display in Port O’Connor was amazing, and seems to get better with each passing year. I watched them from my upstairs deck across the bay on the island, but next year I might venture out in the boat to get a closer look at them. I have friends that did just that, and said it was a great experience. The annual POC fireworks display is funded by donations, so please help to see that this great tradition continues.

Well we are definitely underway with the dog days of south Texas summer right now. Not having AC, my mid-afternoons are wisely spent in the shade with a cold iced tea or flavored water, with hopefully a nice breeze. Early mornings and late evenings are much nicer, and these times are set aside for any outdoor chores or projects. Even the cats stay in the shade on the front porch deck in this heat. . maybe they are not so dumb after all.

The very early mornings are also a great time to take a nice walk on the beach, seeing the beautiful sunrise lifting above the gulf waters. If you’re gonna exercise by walking, which I have found is very rewarding, the beach is a perfect place to do just that. It’s a very tranquil and peaceful setting, listening to the seagulls and watching the pelicans gracefully glide through the sky. On occasion I’ve even been fortunate enough to see dolphins performing complete jumps out of the water. Oh yes, the beach is a great place to walk, and I’ll need to continue doing it, if I keep reaching into those bags of powdered donuts!

Speaking of the island beach, this is the time of year that the tropical sea-beans are washing up on the beaches. Sea-beans, which are actually seeds, grow on trees and bushes in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. These seeds fall into rivers and streams, and the tides and currents eventually wash them across the ocean and Gulf of Mexico onto our beaches. It’s a lot of fun to walk the beach searching for these sea-beans, which come in different shapes and sizes, and even have their own names, such as hamburger, heart, purse and Mary’s sea-bean, to name only a few. So do a little research as to what they look like, there are various books on them, and try to find a few the next time you are enjoying a walk on the beach.

Well my gardening is nearing the end, the temps becoming too hot for my vegetables to do well. My tomatoes did great this year, no doubt getting a boost from 20 inches of rain in 32 days that we had at one point. A few pepper plants produced more peppers than I know what to do with, and the melons, especially the cantaloupes, did fantastic.

I had one cantaloupe that tipped the scales at 12.4 pounds, now that’s a big cantaloupe! It was 28 1/2” in circumference, and had a wonderful taste. I actually have another one still on the vine that I believe might be a tad bigger than that one. We shall see. I give away most of my vegetables that I grow to friends, my joy is in the growing from seed that I do out here.

Well that’s it from the island for now, everyone take care and stay cool.

Various Seabeans

Various Seabeans

Island Tomatoes

Island Tomatoes

12.4 lb. Cantaloupe from Clint’s island garden

12.4 lb. Cantaloupe
from Clint’s island garden

Port O”Connor Chamber Chat by LaJune Pitonyak

Archived in the category: General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Jul 16 - 0 Comments

It was another Spectacular Fireworks Display on July 2nd, as the community and visitors came together, many displaying their red, white and blue pride,  to celebrate our  Freedom and Independence. Port O’Connor is one of the few places where fireworks are still used by individuals for the celebrations. The Chambers display was probably the Biggest & Best, lasting longer than ever before. Thanks goes out to each and everyone for volunteering, donations, buying raffle tickets and all aspects that made the event possible. If you still would like to help us meet the goal to pay for the event, you can go to portoconnorchamber.com or mail a check to P.O. Box 701,Port O’Connor, Tx 77982.

The Chamber has been flooded with calls about Poco Fest.  If you need information, go to pocofest.com; this website has the information, The Chamber has had an enormous volume of calls this year about businesses and general information. Unfortunately, if you are not a member, information about your business or phone number can not be given. One new customer might be the profit to pay your yearly membership. Give us a call at 361-983-2898 or join us on website portoconnorchamber.com.

New and Renewed Members:

Texas Saltwater Magazine        BB Upholstery, LLC
The Law Office of Jane Lane    Josie’s Mexican Food & Cantina
Mitch & Ann Brownlee        Branding Works, LTD
Alan & Robyn Roberts        Stringo Guide Service

The August meeting will be August 8th–6:30 p.m. at the POC Community Center.

POC Chamber of Commerce Raffle  	Kent Waters of El Campo is the proud winner of the handmade quilt that was raffled off to help with the fireworks show expenses. The quilt was made by the ladies that stay at Beacon 44 RV Park in the Winter. Pictured is Kent Waters with Chamber President Mary Jo Walker.

POC Chamber of Commerce Raffle
Kent Waters of El Campo is the proud winner of the handmade quilt that was raffled off to help with the fireworks show expenses. The quilt was made by the ladies that stay at Beacon 44 RV Park in the Winter. Pictured is Kent Waters with Chamber President Mary Jo Walker.

Another Record Year for Whooping Cranes

Archived in the category: General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 14 Jul 16 - 0 Comments

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed analysis of aerial surveys of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo whooping crane population, the only surviving wild population of whooping cranes in the world. Preliminary survey data indicated 329 whooping cranes, including 38 juveniles, in the primary survey area (approximately 153,200 acres) centered on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, Texas. At least nine birds were noted outside the primary survey area. The survey shows an upward trend in whooping crane abundance over the last five years. Last year, 308 whooping cranes were estimated in the primary survey area.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in North America and are highly endangered. Cranes can survive more than twenty-five years in the wild. Adults generally reach reproductive age at four or five years, and then lay two eggs, usually rearing only one chick.

“This is the highest survey estimate ever documented for this population of whooping cranes,” stated Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator. “We are thrilled to see that these birds continue to increase in number after being so close to extinction only 75 years ago.”

More information about the survey and whooping cranes can be found on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Aransas/ or by calling (361) 286-3559.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.

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