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Kevin Hieronymus

MWC Tournament may be put on ice

The Spring Valley Walleye Club sure wishes Mother Nature would make up her mind. Is she ready to say good-bye to Old Man Winter and bring on spring or not?

In its present condition, Barto Landing would not be suitable to launch the Master Walleye Circuit Tournament which is scheduled to make its annual event in Spring Valley on March 29-30. In addition to high waters, there is a huge ice block that has frozen up the launch site.

That uncertainty is certainly nothing new when it comes to weather conditions for the tournament.

“It’s been the same story for the last 28 years,” Spring Valley Walleye Club Executive Director Bill Guerrini said.

There is rain scheduled for next week, that would take out the ice. But it’s a Catch 22, Guerrini said, because then the river comes up and creates flooding.

“We’ve just got to hope for the best,” said Guerrini, aka Walleye 1. “The barometer every year is different. We’ve got to see what Mother Nature does.”

The decision to run the tournament is out of the Spring Valley Walleye Club’s hands. That will come down from the Master Walleye Circuit, which will make the call by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, Guerrini said.

A telltale sign may come with this weekend’s Illinois Walleye Trail Tournament, which is scheduled to launch from Ottawa Saturday and from Barto Landing Sunday.

If the MWC Spring Valley Tournament is able to run as scheduled, it will be bring an exciting twist for 2014. This year’s tournament will be an “artificial-only” event — with extra winnings at stake as anglers put their favorite crankbaits, spinners, Berkley Gulp!-type softbaits and other man-made presentations to the test, while live bait such as minnows and nightcrawlers are off limits.

• State hoops: They’ve got to be real excited about their basketball back home in my neck of the woods. Last week, Heyworth and Bloomington Central Catholic played for state championships in the 1A and 2A boys tournaments and now Lincoln plays for the 3A championship. All three schools are within 20 miles of my hometown Atlanta.

There’s nothing quite like Lincoln Railer basketball. They’re tradition is long and rich.

• Remembering Danny: I was deeply saddened to hear the passing of Danny Gelsomino Wednesday. He was on the first PHS basketball and baseball teams I covered when I first arrived to Bureau County in 1986. He and his family took me in like one of their own. We had a lot of good H-O-R-S-E games and was like a little brother to me and a good friend for sure.

I’m glad he got to make so many lifetime memories with his two kids, Kasey and Nathan, sharing his love for the Cubs, Bulls, Hawks and Bears and all the games they went to together over the past year or so. We now have lost two Tigers, Danny and Mike Sitterly from my first years here, much, much too soon.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.