Scholarship fishing tournament returns for third year

If you go

• WHAT: Memorial Fishing Tournament

• WHEN: Saturday (fishing begins at midnight Friday, and events at the community center begin at noon. Weigh-in is between 2 and 6 p.m.)

• WHERE: Inez Community Center, 2511 Garcitas Creek Road (fishing can be done anywhere between Colorado River and Mesquite Bay)

• TO REGISTER: Visit tkm8forever.com.

When Travis Madden suddenly died during his college freshman year, his future as a baseball player, a college student and one day, a chemical engineer, ended.

His father, the senior Travis Madden, has since made it a priority to allow students who financially wouldn't be able to afford college set their educational goals a bit higher.

A fishing tournament set up in his son's memory has continued to grow during the past two years. The family has been able to donate more than $100,000 in scholarships and donations to like-minded organizations.

The tournament will kick off its third year Saturday at the Inez Community Center, featuring plenty of competition, live music, an auction and a raffle that will feature a Kubota utility task vehicle donated by Travis and Jennifer Ernst, of Victoria. Fishing can begin at midnight Friday anywhere between the Colorado River and Mesquite Bay.

"For many kids, high school is the end of the road," Madden said. "By doing this, some kids get chances they normally wouldn't."

In the past two years, the scholarship fund has granted gifts to students at Industrial, Victoria East and West, Calhoun, St. Joseph and Faith Academy high schools, as well as two Victoria College students.

Madden said the recipients are selected by school counselors and are not necessarily for the student who made straight As but the student who works hard.

"I tell them, 'I'm giving you a scholarship - this is money the community trusts me to give out in the right way - and you're not expected to get straight As, but you are expected to set a goal and make it.'"

Madden said his son was the type of man who knew how to set a goal, and he admired that quality in him.

"Travis wanted to become an engineer, and a (baseball) player told him that would be a tough goal," Madden said. "Later, Travis told me he was going to be an engineer because he wanted to prove it could be done."

Madden's son was found dead in December 2011 at the bottom of a stairwell near the campus of Texas A&M-Kingsville, according to Advocate archives. Madden set Industrial school records for single-season strikeouts and no-hitters and was a two-time second-team all-state selection as well as a first-team selection on the Advocate's All-Area team as a senior. He was 18 years old when he died.

"Travis loved all things outdoors," his father said, "especially fishing."