CONCORD, N.C. – Earlier this month, the Hendrick Motorsports campus hosted the inaugural employee-family fishing tournament.
Hendrick Motorsports chaplain Donnie Floyd of Motor Racing Outreach first hatched the idea with the goal of bringing team members and their families together for a fun event.
“What can we do to kind of bring people together and create community and family?” Floyd said of the genesis of the idea. “As I was doing work as the chaplain, talking and getting to know people, I found out there’s a lot of people that like to fish. I was thinking, I wonder if we can have a fishing tournament? What would that look like?”
When the event came together, 65 people showed up for the Saturday tournament, which lasted all morning with an awards ceremony capping the day at lunchtime.
“What a way to bring your kids or your wife or significant other, bring everyone together and have a relaxing day with other employees and get to know their kids and families,” Floyd said.
The fishing took place in the various ponds across the Hendrick Motorsports campus, which have been stocked with fish over time. Employees are permitted to fish in the ponds, and the participants spread out between the different bodies of water.
In total, 147 fish were caught between 8 and 11:30 a.m. And, fittingly, the last catch of the day – with eight minutes to spare at 11:22 a.m. – was the biggest.
Everyone who entered the tournament received a unique hat commemorating the event, and six award winners received special hats with the category embroidered on the side in addition to a trophy made of a piston provided by the engine shop, engraved with the winning category.
There were awards for the biggest catch, smallest catch and most fish caught in addition to the biggest catch and smallest catch categories for children 14 and under and one final award in the team category.
“The smallest fish caught for the under 14 category was an employee in engineering’s son, and he was 4 years old,” Floyd shared. “To see them do that together as a father and son, to go up on stage and to be recognized by 50 or 60 people and this little kid’s got pictures of that, you won the fishing tournament in your category – that was special.”
Floyd took pride in the fact that participants commented on just how professional the entire event felt, and the chaplain was quick to credit the hard work of everyone involved in putting on the tournament without a hitch.
“From what I hear, everyone really liked it and then the ones that were not able to come, they heard about it and they were like, ‘Man, I’m there next time,’” Floyd smiled. “I hope we do it again.”
When it came to accomplishing the original goal, to bring people together to create community and family, the fishing tournament passed with flying colors.
“It’s about you matter as an employee. Your kids matter,” Floyd said. “Everybody talked about how fun it was to be able to bring their family to something.
“That’s what we wanted to do, to make it a time that the employees could bring their kids and do something fun at mom or dad’s work.”