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‘Clamming for a Cure’ contest Sunday

(July 19, 2013) Residents and visitors can put their kayaking and clamming skills to the test this Sunday during Fish Tales Bar & Grill’s fourth annual “Clamming for a Cure,” a fundraiser for breast cancer research.

Donna Harman, who owns the bayside restaurant with her husband, Shawn, had always wanted to organize some sort of race that included the sandbar filled with clams in the bay behind the restaurant, thus the relay event was created.

Registration is currently open for the 2013 event. Final registration for the races will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 21. The cost is $100 per team of two, which must be co-ed. Competitors must be 21 years of age and wear closed-toed shoes. The competition field is limited to 32 pairs.

The races will kick off at 11 a.m. in the bay behind Fish Tales on 22nd Street. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for breast cancer research.

In a single-person kayak, one team member will paddle from Bahia Marina’s boat ramp (next to Fish Tales) to the sandbar, where he or she must find a live clam, show it to the judge for approval and then paddle back to the boat ramp to tag his or her partner. The second person will also paddle out to the sandbar, retrieve a live clam and then race back.

Some people jump out and find a clam immediately, while others have a hard time locating them, Fish Tales’ Manager Brandon Hemp.

“Finding the elusive clam can be a deal breaker,” he said. “Sometimes finding the clam holds people up, but it can also be an endurance thing with paddling.”

Competitors will race in heats. The top teams from each heat will advance to the next round.

The winning duo will be awarded $1,500 (based on 32 teams). The second- and third-place finishers will receive cash prizes as well, and the top three teams will take home prizes. The fourth-place team will win a prize package.

“No clams will be harmed during this event,” Hemp said, as the marine bivalve mollusks will be returned to their home.

DJ Paulo McKenzie will emcee the contest.

Twenty-four teams participated last year and nearly $8,000 was raised for breast cancer research. That money, along with funds garnered through Fish Tales’ weekly cornhole tournaments and a Bloody Mary contest, was combined with donations from the annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open–a three-day, ladies-only fishing tournament– held Aug. 16-18. The Harmans presented the American Cancer Society with a check for $62,500 during the Open awards ceremony.

The total donated by the Harman family through events over the past five years has surpassed $300,000.

In addition to the clamming event on Sunday, there will also be the second annual “OC’s Casting for a Cure,” hosted by Saltwater Style, Bahia Marina and Fish Tales.

For a $5 donation, participants can test their skills by casting a 3/8-ounce jig into a cluster of rings floating in the water. Competitors will get two practice casts and three chances for points. The rings vary in size and are worth different points.

A Bait Net Casting competition is also on tap. The top three competitors will be determined by the largest diameter of their casted net on pavement. All participants will use the same size bait casting net.

“Saltwater Style is for women who love to fish and I wanted to incorporate fishing into an annual event that will give back to the community, especially toward the research for a cure for breast cancer,” Saltwater Style owner India Bandorick said after introducing the events last year.

Both competitions are open to all ages. Winners will take home prizes, which include fishing gear, T-shirts and gift certificates, donated by Saltwater Style, Fish Tales, Bahia Marina and other local and national businesses.

“It will be a fun event,” Hemp said. “[OC’s Casting for a Cure and Bait Net Casting] gives people something else to do while they’re there.”

Drink specials, a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction will also be going on throughout the day. A surfboard hand-painted by local artist Maggie Steimer will be raffled off along with a kayak donated by VeeV Açaí Spirit Liqueur.

Tickets for the surfboard and kayak raffles cost $5 each or get five for $20.

For more information about Clamming for a Cure, which is sponsored by VeeV, Eastern Shore Distributing/Budweiser, Bacardi and Pusser’s Rum, call 410-289-0990.

Call Bandorick at 410-430-1157 or india@saltwaterstyle.com for additional Casting for a Cure and Bait Net Casting details.

Teams compete in Fish Tales’ third annual “Clamming for a Cure” kayaking event last year, to benefit the American Cancer Society with money earmarked for breast cancer research. Twenty-four teams competed in event and nearly $8,000 was raised for the organization. Other activities during the day included “Bait Net Casting” and “Casting for a Cure” contests.

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