- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Men, women and children from near and far are being called to gather at Live Oak Landing in Baldwin County on May 17 to celebrate the beauty of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta while enjoying the outdoors activities its wild places and miles of water make possible.

The Delta Rendezvous scheduled that day is designed to emulate those days gone by when mountain men came down from their wilderness homes on a predetermined date to trade pelts, swap stories and compete in skills that made their very survival possible, said Alan White, president of Alabama Hunger Relief, the nonprofit agency to which proceeds from the event will be donated.

“The idea really came from the days when mountain men stayed in the mountains for a year and came down every spring to places like Jackson Hole (Wyoming) and had what amounted to a weeklong drunken party,” White said. “They’d also play games, threw hatchets, wrestling and had shooting competitions. It was really an opportunity and place for them to relax and celebrate their lifestyle.

“Here, the idea is that the Delta is so big and there are so many people who live all around it and use it on a daily basis that we thought it’d be a great way for everybody to get together and celebrate what we have here. Now, we’re not going to allow alcohol and there won’t be any hatchet throwing, but we really want to create the spirit of a celebratory gathering and it’s why we called it a rendezvous instead of an expo or some other word.”

Alabama Hunger Relief works to feed the needy in Alabama. Its Alabama Inshore Challenge series of fishing tournaments over the past three years have collected hundreds of pounds of fish and made possible the processing of thousands of pounds of deer meat that were donated to local food banks, White said.

While the Delta Rendezvous is free to the public, White said folks are encouraged to donate at least one canned good to help further the organization’s mission of improving food security in Alabama.

In 2012 19.2 percent of Alabama’s population was food insecure, meaning one or more people in the household were hungry over the course of the year because of the inability to afford enough food, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Feeding America.

Very low food security had been getting worse even before the recession. The number of people in this category in 2010 is nearly double the number in 2000.

“This is an issue we don’t hear about much, but it’s a daily struggle to get enough food for too many people in Alabama,” White said.

Besides the canned goods, portions of entry fees from four fishing tournaments, three archery competitions and several other events throughout the day will be used to process venison for food banks and direct monetary donations to other charitable groups that also have feeding the hungry as their core mission.

Registration and a captains meeting for the fishing tournaments is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 15 at the Bay Minette Civic Center in Bay Minette. White said anglers are encouraged to preregister online here.

Separate tournaments are planned for bass ($65 per person), bream, grinnell and crappie ($25 per person respectively). There is also a separate lunker bass division that will pay out 80 percent of the $50-per-person entry fees collected.

Guaranteed payouts for first are $1,000 in bass, which pays through 10th place, and $500 each in bream, grinnell and crappie, which all pay through third place.

All of the fishing events are being run by members of the Alabama Bass Federation.

Cash payouts and prizes are also available to top finishers in the archery events, which include a 3D 20-target shoot, 3D, five-target pop-up event and Boston butt turkey shoot competition.

If competition isn’t in your plans, White said attendees can enjoy a wide array of options such as fishing and archery seminars, live demonstrations, craft vendors, food vendors and live entertainment.

Outdoors personalities scheduled to attend are Eddie Salter, Joella Bates, Allen Nelson and Ben Raines. Jason Smith is set to be master of ceremonies.

White also made a call for volunteers, who will be asked to meet May 13 at Teresa’s barbeque in Bay Minette from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a planning meeting. Attendees will be treated to dinner.

“There are going to be jobs big and small for people to do throughout the day of the rendezvous. Anything they can do, any time they can give will be a big help and greatly appreciated,” White said.



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