“We truly appreciate all the support and encouragement we have received from sportsmen
and all of our customers from across a three-state area.”
– Reed and Steve Rognstad
Hurricane Michael did not spare anyone in Seminole County in dishing out devastation on October 10th and that was certainly the case the morning after the storm at Lake Seminole’s Big Jim’s Restaurant and Spring Creek Park Resort. The entire facility sustained major damage from the category three storm and owners Reed and Steve Rognstad are still working to get fully back on their feet. Luckily, the restaurant and resort don’t have to conquer it alone, as loyal customers have figured out a way to give back.
Mike Webster with the Bainbridge Bass Club, and West Side Bait and Tackle are sponsoring a Big Jim’s Benefit Tournament, where 30 percent of every entry will go towards the recovery and rebuilding of Big Jim’s and Spring Creek Park Resort. The tournament will be hosted at Big Jim’s on Saturday, February 2. The team entry fee is $100 and teams can put an optional $10 in the Big Fish Pot. Webster realizes this tournament is on the same weekend as the media bass tournament, and the organizers have worked it out so competitors can compete in both and weigh in once at the finish.
“Steve and Reed will do anything for anybody,” Webster said. “They are a super couple and never ask for help, and we feel like it’s time for us to give back now.”
The resort’s restaurant, cafe, motel, cabins and campground all sustained substantial damage, but the Rognstads did not let that stop them from helping out in their time of need.
“We began feeding linemen and community members, free of charge, the day after the hurricane and by the weekend were feeding two meals a day to anyone who needed it,” commented Reed Rognstad. They ended up feeding approximately 225 people per meal. “We are grateful to our employees, who had their own problems from the hurricane, but still showed up as soon as roads were clear and together we fed people, put ‘band-aids” on lodging that was still usable so we could house linemen, and worked to start putting the pieces back together. We are also thankful to the many individuals, groups and businesses that donated food to cook, water, toiletries, and first aid supplies to distribute, and funds to buy food to continue feeding the community and workers. Many restaurants from outside our area even prepared and sent complete meals to help feed people.”
Today, three months after the storm, Big Jim’s Restaurant has returned to normal operations, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The Rognstads are nowhere near finished with their repairs, but they believe that they will be back in shape soon – maybe even better than before, but certainly with a greater love and respect for their old and new “family of friends.”
That is why Webster and his friends who are organizing this tournament hope it raises as much money as possible – for a couple who really deserves it.
For those who are not interested in fishing, but still want to donate and help the business get back on its feet, they can make a check out to Big Jim’s or to the Bainbridge Bass Club and earmark it Big Jim’s.
Teams can sign up until the day of, where they will fish from safe daylight until 3 p.m. Webster, along with West Side Bait and Tackle are hoping everyone comes out to support this relief benefit.