Michael Roos, offensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans, established his own foundation in 2006 “to offer encouragement, comfort and support to children during profound emotional, physical, or mental distress.” This past June 8, for the third year in a row, Roos came to northern Idaho and Coeur d’Alene Lake, along with many of his NFL friends, to benefit Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the Inland Northwest.
The event is termed the “Fish and Chip Tournament,” referring to the 3-day event involving both fishing and golf, both of which take place at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort and Circling Raven golf club, plus fishing in tribal waters on Coeur d’Alene Lake.
The Casino Resort is a host sponsor, along with Cabela’s, the Odom Corporation, and the Panhandle Bass Angler’s Association as primary sponsors.
Roos has ties to this area, having played college ball at nearby Eastern Washington University. He’s originally from Estonia, part of the former Soviet Union, but moved to Vancouver, Washington in 1992.
Asked why he put on these events, Roos replied, “We try to help out the charities, the Boys and Girls Club this year, and help them in the way they help everyone else, and support them. It’s a fun time to get all these guys to come fishing and golfing and it’s a beautiful area. This is the third year I’ve done this.”
He also spoke highly of the tribe and its facilities. “The casino and the tribe has been tremendous – all their support and involvement. They’re very nice, generous people, and have been very good to us. I love working with them. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Cameron Foster, board member for the Foundation echoed those comments. “The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort really embraced the event and were behind it 100%. They got their entire staff involved. They attended the events. They gave entries to the general public from contests in their casino. They jumped in with both feet.”
32 celebrities attended, including 26 active players. The Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks had the largest number with another five or six teams represented.
A blessing was conducted by tribal elder Cliff SiJohn before the golf tourney commenced. SiJohn speaks eloquently and added a bit of humor to the blessing, one time interjecting, “Hear me my chiefs – and I don’t mean Kansas City either.” And then in giving thanks he gave special thanks to Dick Butkus, Hall of Fame linebacker, “for all the money he’s left at the casino.”
It is that sort of event. People come to have fun while supporting a very worthwhile cause.
During both the golf tournament and the bass fishing, NFL players were paired up with tribal members and supporting members. James Samuels, Sr., Coeur d’Alene tribal member, was looking forward to his round of golf with Dick Butkus. “It’s a great honor to be part of this function,” Samuels said. “I’ve seen a bunch of popular faces and I’m looking forward to the fishing tournament as well as the golf tournament.” Samuels also brought his own son to be part of the team playing with Butkus.
John Moffitt plays right guard for the Seattle Seahawks. “I came to support the Michael Roos Foundation. A lot of my friends on the Seahawks were coming. We have a lot of fans in Idaho. We went to the Cabela’s signing (autographs) last night and it was fun to meet the people.”
Levi Horn probably felt right at home on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. Levi spent the last two years for the Chicago Bears but he’ll be playing right tackle for the Minnesota Vikings this coming season. He is Northern Cheyenne from Lame Deer, Montana and graduated from college at the University of Montana. “I’m glad to help the Michael Roos Foundation and the great charities he supports,” Levi said. “He does great non-profit work and I hope the Northern Cheyenne (one day) will have a charity event like this for the tribe.”
Even though weather conditions didn’t cooperate well for either event with abnormally cool temperatures and frequent rains, the turnout was good for both fishing and chipping. Larry Nugate, a member of the Panhandle Bass Anglers, has donated his time and bass boat for the event each of the three years. “You take people out to show them a good time on Coeur d’Alene Lake. We’ll have fun regardless of whether we catch fish. A lot of people have never been on a bass boat and when they get to come out on a bass boat they love it! It’s awesome Michael Ross will come to Coeur d’Alene Lake.”
But the real purpose is to raise money for Boys and Girls Clubs. Total profits have not yet been announced but will be significant. “The event grossed $125, 000,” Foster said. “I don’t know all our expenses yet.”