Rickie Schmitz of Otego is Loved and Remembered!
So there I was. Minding my own business having a quiet lunch at Angus and Ale on Main Street in Sidney on Saturday. All of a sudden the door flies open and in comes a whole swarm of beautiful young ladies all wearing the same shirt.
You know me. I had to ask.
Rickie Schmitz was just 24 years old when he died in a tragic snowmobiling accident in Old Forge in 2002. He was a star athlete from Unatego High School who loved hunting, fishing and just about anything to do with the outdoors. After his untimely death his friends decided to get together to figure out how to remember this beloved young man.
Rickie's mother, Lisa, told me, "He loved his family and his friends and he enjoyed being in the outdoors. Right after his death we all got together to make sure we stayed in touch and that we remembered my son each year. And that is how this "trout day" came about. The "Rickie Schmitz Annual Trout Contest" is a day of fishing for guys and a day of friendship and socializing for all the women. We meet up at the end of the day and remember Rickie with a great get-together. It is a wonderful tradition. I know my son would love it and would want us all to know that we're doing exactly what he would want us to be doing. His dear friends Amber and Rob Birdsall started it all in 2002 and we hope to keep it, as well as my son's memory, going long into the future," Lisa told me.
The crowd grows every year for this event. The biggest year so far saw nearly 100 join in the fellowship in Rickie's memory. Everybody wears the same shirt. On the back it reads "R. Schmitz 24". That was his Unatego High School football jersey number.
What a nice gesture. These were some mighty lively ladies and I was honored to be in their presence on Saturday.
Like I always say, just look around. You never know what you are going to run into!