It took my club over a year to finally get our Get Trashed event off the ground. It seemed extremely daunting at first, and after putting it off for one reason or another it came down to just getting the wheels in motion. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn’t please everyone, and having an event is better than not having one.
A Get Trashed event consists of a fly fishing competition and river cleanup. The mission is to build community and introduce new fly fisherman to the sport while cleaning up as much trash as possible.
The easiest way to make your event successful is to identify key individuals in the fly fishing community around you. For me it was other schools, fly shops, industry insiders, fishing companies, TU chapters, and friends. Once you find the key players around you approach them and challenge them to build their own team. This takes all the pressure off you and your club to provide all the people for the event. Teams can be as large as you want, the only rule being that they must have a minimum of one new angler. Once you’ve chatted with the movers and shakers in your community, reach out to Pig Farm Ink to get their help on the back end. They can help with online signups, flyers, and any odd questions that arise. Also they’ve got a big list of “farmers” all over the nation and can help you spread the word to people in your area. Hit up Jay Johnson (360)903-4097 and Dave Teper (239)287-2341, they’re the homies that will get your event off the ground, regardless where it is located. Spread the word through social media and have others do it as well. A Facebook event is an extremely effective way to see a rough count of who will come out, and creates a place for people to tag their friends to have them come out.
Get some sponsors
While the event isn’t always about free stuff, it definitely helps. Hit up local fly shops and fishing companies. Rather than just asking them for free gear, pitch it to them so that they get something out of it (their river is getting cleaned, photos for social media, instagram takeover, etc.). Coming from someone who worked in a fly shop, if you can present it such that they are getting something out of it you are far more likely to get gear tossed your way.
Get a location
The body of water that you choose ideally is in need for a river cleanup, and has potential for new people to catch fish (i.e. not too technical). Next you’re going to need a location for everyone to gather at in the morning, and a place for people to hang out after. For us, I decided that the easiest place to meet would be a public park, after doing some research it was only $25 to reserve a pavilion through the local city. Figure out what’s best and easiest for you depending on location. Other ideas include someone’s house, a coffee/food shop, or local fly shop. For after, call around to some local bars if enough of your crew is above 21. This was the part I was personally nervous about, as I assumed I would have to pay to rent a place out. In the end after calling around to 2-3 bars I found one that was happy to have us during their slow time (3-4pm) as we would bring them in new customers and make up for the slow period.
Each scoring system is adjusted for each are and club. Make sure it’s all about having fun, building the community, and cleaning up the outdoors. An example of scoring that I used is below
New Fishermans 1st fish – 25 points
New Fishermans 2nd fish – 10 points
Every other fish – 1 point
Fish over 20” – 5 points
Each contractor bag of garbage – 50 points
Items that won’t fit in trashbag – 30 points
Carp Bonus – 25 points
Action Instagram Shot w/hastags – 10 points
#pigfarmink #gettrashed #kickplastic #seewhatsoutthere
Get out there and have fun. It’s probably best to have someone not part of a team to make sure everything runs smoothly. There’s always something to do day of. You’ll need to arrive early to set up, organize teams, hand out swag and score sheets. Once everyone gets out on the water, follow teams around and take pictures that everyone can see after. This is also a great way to please any sponsors that you have.
That’s it, in the end don’t overcomplicate it and have fun!
-Wray Sinclair - President University of Utah Fly Fishing Club