Teen’s character remembered ahead of fishing tournament
Scott and Tabbitha Briggs are still overwhelmed by the impact their son, Bryce Briggs, had on his community.
That impact is ultimately what made them form Live Like Bryce — The Bryce Briggs Foundation, which raises funds to provide scholarships for Lake Hamilton students exhibiting good character, as well as award sponsorships and donations to various organizations.
“We’re really fortunate the community has been so supportive of us and the foundation,” Scott Briggs said. “It’s pretty humbling. He touched a lot of people and we didn’t realize just how much until after he passed away. People still send us messages. He received a posthumous degree from Arkansas Tech (University). He was always thinking about others.”
On Saturday, the foundation will host the second annual Bryce Briggs Memorial Fishing Tournament at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa on Lake Ouachita from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tournament, his parents said, is something their son would have loved to see and be a part of.
“I asked him once what he was going to be when he grew up, when he got out of college, and he told me he was going to be a professional fisherman,” Tabbitha Briggs said. “So I asked him what his backup was and he said ‘Win the lottery.’ I laughed and asked him what his backup for that was and he finally said ‘I guess I’ll be an engineer.’”
“Bryce loved fishing, football, baseball
and hunting, especially duck hunting,” Scott Briggs said. “It’s going to be a beautiful day for fishing.”
According to a news release provided by Tabbitha Briggs, Bryce Briggs was injured in a brush fire accident on Dec. 13, 2016, while helping a friend. He was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital with third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body and died on Dec. 18, 2016.
“Bryce touched more lives in his short 19 years of life than most will touch in their entire lifetime,” the release said.
According to the release, which announced five scholarships awarded to students this year, the foundation wants to “reward students for their exemplary individual character, behavior and kindness to others and community service.”
Since it was formed in February 2017, Tabbitha Briggs said the foundation has given about $15,000 through various donations and scholarships.
“Our (scholarships) are based on character, the high school teachers and coaches nominate students because they are with the students every day,” she said. “We decided to make one (scholarship) for one male and one female athlete, and one academic for one male and one female student, and then one that’s community service for, again, one male and one female.”
Though competitive by nature, Tabbitha Briggs said her son always looked for the best ways to help others whether through teamwork or looking out for fellow classmates.
“Bryce did not like to lose — he was competitive, but he also knew what was best for his team,” she said. “He was always thinking about others.
“I asked him once, he was up for a scholarship and didn’t get it, and I asked if he was upset about it and he told me ‘No, mom, because they probably needed it more.’ Same with football, if he didn’t get to score the touchdown he was OK as long as it was what’s best for the team. That’s just who he was.”
The foundation, in addition to scholarships, has donated $2,500 to Lake Hamilton athletics, $2,000 to youth team scholarships, $1,000 to the Lake Hamilton Optimist Club, $1,100 to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, $1,200 to various individuals and clubs in the community, $240 to Lake Hamilton Intermediate School and $300 to the Arkansas Tech Fishing Team. Funds are raised not only through the fishing tournament, but the Live Like Bryce 7 on 7 football tournament.
Brigette Dunn, foundation treasurer, said prize money is covered for this year’s tournament, and there is still time for anglers to register.
Last year’s two divisions, Tripp Dunn said, have been divided into three for this year’s tournament — adult, senior youth for ninth through 12th grades, and junior youth for eighth grade and below.
The deadline for registration is Friday and the entry fee for adults is $125 per boat, while youth entry fees are
$80 per boat. Late entries the day of the tournament will be accepted with an additional
$20 fee. Registration forms are available at Geared, Trader Bills Outdoors and Chris Elder Auto Sales. Forms may be returned to these locations or mailed to BBMFT, 236 Windamere Drive, Hot Springs, AR 71913.
Registration is also available online at http://bryce2497.
Payouts in each of the junior youth division for grades eight and below, senior youth for grades 9-12 and the adult division include payouts of
$100-$500. Sponsors for this year’s tournament include Chris Elder Auto Sales, Trader Bills Outdoor Sports, Geared, Felix Brace and Limb, Denny McConathy, Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa, Ferrell Gas, Smith Remodeling, B & D Plumbing, Falk Supply, Smokin’ In Style BBQ , American Termite & Pest Control, MJ Communications, Dr. Mike Mullins — Healthstar Physician Group, JJ’s Truck Stop, Wilson Home Improvement, Brad Hamilton, Allen Dodd, and Greeson, Inc.
For additional information regarding the tournament, contact Danny Smith at 501547-1923 or Tripp Dunn at 501276-1500.