Tell me about your son, Braxton, and how did this ice-fishing tournament get started?
We started it in memory of our son, who was stillborn in March 2018. He was born a week before his due date without a heartbeat. After researching, we learned there are 26,000 stillborn babies every year in the U.S. alone. We found Star Legacy Foundation when I started researching this. They do a lot of education and research. They helped us set up and sponsor this event. And 100 percent of the money goes to their organization.
Why did you decide to hold an ice-fishing event?
(My husband) Chris (Spath) loves to fish. He was looking forward to taking Braxton ice fishing. There are so many events in the summer, we decided to hold one in the winter. It’s to get a different crowd out.
How good does this make you feel to be able to honor him in this way?
It’s bittersweet. I’d love to be planning his first birthday instead, in a couple months. But it’s giving us something to look forward to. And we’d like to do this every year to keep his memory alive. We’re doing this to raise awareness, and the outpouring from the community has been awesome.
How many people are signed up? How much money do you hope to raise?
It’s $30 to register. We have some T-shirts that will be available the day of (the event). We’ve had probably 50 (early) register. Our max, with the (state Department of Natural Resources) permit, is 200 who can register to fish. The goal is to raise $5,000.
What else will be offered at the event?
We’ll have concessions, and we’ll be raffling off prizes.
— Chris Vetter