The tenth annual and final John Pato Sr. Ice Fishing Tournament was held on a Saturday, Feb. 1, at Lake Davis.
A total of 91 anglers attended the event and got the best of both worlds with about 6 inches of ice to fish from at the dam and Honker Cove while the sun shone on the lake.
Justin Jensen of Reno took home first place, Blake Pato of Portola took second and Bill Cary, also of Portola, took third place in the final tournament.
The event initially started as a bet between friends, when John Pato first thought that he could bring ice fishing back to the community. “He said to his buddies, I bet you I can bring it back, and it just took off,” Kellie Pato said smiling.
Soon, the bet turned into an annual fundraiser that gained in popularity and brought the community together for a cause.
The annual event has raised funds toward the American Cancer Society for the last decade by long time locals John and Kellie Pato in honor of their middle son, Josh Pato.
“Cancer has touched everyone in one way or another,” Kellie said. “Every cancer is important, so we decided to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.”
The Patos set a goal of raising $25,000 in 10 years, and with the advent of the 10th and final year, they not only met, but also exceeded their financial goals.
“It was a bittersweet day as our 10th and final year came to an end,” Kellie explained. “A lot of great memories have been made over the last 10 years, so it was definitely emotional.”
Over those 10 years, the event has raised and donated a total of $26,000 to the American Cancer Society, according to the Patos.
“The work that John and I put into it every year was so worth it!” Kellie Pato said. “Not too shabby for a little ma and pa event.”
The Pato family thanks all that have been involved in the event over the years, as this has been a community endeavor.
“This year, we had over 100 prizes for our prize drawing, thanks to the many donations we received from our communities through the county and even from large businesses in Reno,” Kellie Pato said.
“We especially thank our biggest advertiser through this event, Deals and Wheels, for always donating ad space to publicize the event.”
“A special thanks also goes to our daughter-in-law, Megan, and granddaughter Haley Pato for helping me with raffle tickets, fish weigh-in and standing two hours calling out winning raffle numbers!”
While the Patos are retiring from hosting the annual ice fishing tournament, Kellie added that anglers shouldn’t be too disappointed. “There are plans in place for the owners of the Grizzly Store to take over the event in the future,” Kellie Pato said.
The Patos extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who has participated, donated in one way or another, was there in spirit, “or just cheering us on from the sidelines over the past 10 years,” said Kellie.