A multitude of characters, looking like they stepped straight out of Westeros, caused heads to spin and added lots of excitement to TBF’s gala, Gamefish on Thrones. Wildlings and Night’s Watchmen filled the ballroom wearing fur from boots to shoulders as the Night King and his whitewalkers brought a sense of unknowing fear to some. That is, until a uniformed platoon of knights marched in, some riding dragons, and kept watch during the dark of night as strangers sipped Bacardi libations. At the same time, strong and beautiful Queens and Khaleesis showed their power as they worked their magic to take home prizes to their kingdoms.
Auctioneer extraordinaire Pat Healey, CEO and President of Viking Yachts, tantalized guests with options to take home big prizes. Many a bidding war broke out, as guests were tempted by sophisticated gear like a Garmin Chartplotter/Sonar Combo, luxury vacationing at Beach Enclave in Turks & Caicos, and jaw-dropping art by the likes of George Kalwa, James J. Barry III, Tony Krysinsky, and James Williams. Perhaps the most entertaining moment of the night was the fight over one of the 7-foot tall decorative dragons that towered over the guests, which, in a surprise twist, saw the highest bidder taking home all three!
Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to two individuals and one club for decades of their commitment to fish conservation, engaging constituents, advancing responsible fishing practices and billfish science. Winners included Michael Rybovich, who was presented the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Freddy Arocha, who was presented the Paxson H. Offield Science Award, and the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club that was presented with TBF’s Club of Excellence Award. These individuals and club are heroes of billfish conservation, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their decades of service to the cause.
The Billfish Foundation’s Gamefish on Thrones Gala was truly a night to remember (or, for some, not so much)! However, it wouldn’t have been half as amazing a night without the help of our dear friends and sponsors. Please, whenever possible, purchase from the distinguished, conservation-minded businesses that made the Gala possible through sponsorships:
- Casa de Campo Marina
- C&L Insurance
- Beach Enclave
- Casa Vieja Lodge
- Galati Yachts
- Grady White Boats
- HMY Yachts
- Lewis Marine
- Recreational Fishing Alliance
- Release Marine
- Viking Yachts
- Viking Yachts Service Center
- Yamaha Marine Group
Next year’s party will be held Friday, November 6, 2020, so mark your calendar!