Freshwater and saltwater aren’t far removed in Florida, and thus it’s appropriate that we give a shout-out to the folks planning and promoting an August 11 mixed-species ocean tournament out of Lake Worth. The tournament is a fundraiser for the family of Ricky Ramsey, who died May 24, 2012, in an airboat collision while working on Lake Okeechobee. Entry fee is just $100, and there’s over $5,000 in prizes up for grabs in Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo and Bonito divisions, as well as Woman’s and Junior categories. Click here to see the website, or call Caroline Schneider at 561-234-7395. Posted below is “Ricky’s Story,” as printed in the tournament brochure, which is making the Internet rounds this week. Organizers are also accepting donations, volunteers and sponsors.
–Jeff Weakley, Editor
Richard Gene Ramsey was born on August 11, 1990 to Holly and Kurt Ramsey in Boynton Beach, FL. He was soon promoted to big brother on September 28, 1991 when Michael Ramsey was born. Ricky was always full of life and ready to start a new adventure, especially with his best friend, Micky, by his side. The Ramsey’s decided to move to Okeechobee, FL in 1998 in pursuit of a simpler way of life. Ricky and Micky soon adapted to the love of air boating, fishing, hunting and cow tipping. From a young age, Ricky spent his waking hours doing any of the above. Ricky’s father, Kurt, spent many hours helping Ricky build his first airboat. Made from a Volkswagen motor, he was the talk of the town zooming around Lake Okeechobee with his younger brother strapped to the front seat. At the age of 13, Lake Okeechobee was his neighborhood playground. His mother, Holly, an officer of the Seminole Indian Police Department and his father, Curtis, area manager of Applied Aquatics became actively involved with the air boating community in Glades county. So much so, that they soon became part of a volunteer “Search and Rescue” Team to help stranded, lost or injured boaters on the lake.
Years later, Ricky started his adult life with Sarah Joiner (his childhood sweetheart) by his side. Together they had two beautiful children, Landen “Boog” and Kaylee “Kay Kay”. As soon as he turned of age, he went to work for his daddy running an airboat to eradicate exotic plants and trees in Lake Okeechobee/Florida Everglades. Of course, soon after following his footsteps was his brother Micky. Together, Ricky and Micky spent day after day working long hours in the elements of the South Florida weather to provide for their families. Ricky and Sarah dreamed of one day owning a home where they could raise Landen and Kaylee. They had been saving for quite a while, but as young parents today soon figure out, that wasn’t easy. They found themselves living paycheck to paycheck just like many Americans today.
On the morning of May 24, 2012 Ricky went to work just like any other day. Today was slightly different because today he had been assigned to train a new employee. On the course of the day, the weather turned bad and Ricky headed back to safety accompanied by a Co-Worker on another airboat. The two boats tragically collided and Ricky was killed instantly. Fortunately, the two other young men that were involved in the accident have recovered and are home with their families. Our thoughts and prayers are with these men as they are haunted everyday by the details of this horrific day.
The monies collected through this benefit will go directly to his the immediate needs of Ricky’s children. Our goal is to use a minimal amount of funds to hold this event, thus leaving a maximum amount to contribute to Ricky’s memorial fund. There are no “handling, management, overhead or consulting fees” associated with this tournament whatsoever. Thank you for making a difference!