0630 Fishing tourney

Participants in the Dean Peeples Memorial Fishing Tournament pose for a photo. The tournament brought 67 boats onto Lake Russell on Sunday.

Anglers in Greenwood celebrated Dean Peeples’ life by doing the thing he most loved doing: fishing.

Peeples, who was an active member of the local fishing community along with his father, died June 19 at Self Regional Medical Center after a medical emergency near his home.

The fishing tournament in honor of Peeples brought 67 boats onto Lake Russell on Sunday. Rusty Nickles, a longtime friend of Peeples’ father, organized the tournament.

Nickles runs a fishing club that Peeples and his father, Douglas “Skeeter” Peeples, participate in. In the last tournament Dean and his father fished, the pair won.

“It’s sort of ironic that that happened,” Nickles said. “I know Skeeter is a very well known person and they were real active in the high school fishing tournaments. I know a lot of people know them through the high school fishing league.”

Dean graduated from Greenwood High in 2019. He was also a member of the Eagles’ wrestling team.

Tyler Hastings, Dean’s best friend, found out about the tragedy the night it happened. He was heartened to see so many turn out for Sunday’s tournament. “It’s just awesome to see everybody get together and support them after what happened,” Hastings said. “Everybody that comes in contact and says something about Dean always has something positive to say. I’ve never heard anything negative about Dean whatsoever.”

K.J. Thomas and Jay Marshall won the tournament, weighing in at 12.26 pounds with a big fish of 7.58 pounds.

Ken Campbell and Jake Campbell took second at 11.37 pounds. Third place was the Howell team with 11.26 pounds. Eric and Barron Saxon took fourth with 11.15 pounds. James Laflamme took fifth with 11.08 pounds.

The tournament was one of a few benefit tournaments that Nickles organizes each year.

Hastings said the tournament brought some healing in the wake of Dean’s tragic, unexpected death.

“It really does mean a lot to me that I had a friend who had an impact on everybody’s life,” Hastings said. “Everybody liked him and it just feels good that you got a friend that everybody took a part in and everybody always said good things about.”

Contact sports writer Skylar Rolstad at 864-223-1813 or follow him on Twitter @SkyRolSports.