TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The fifth annual “Robby’s Reef Fun’raiser” is coming to Tallahassee on the day after Christmas. The event will be from 6:00 pm to midnight December 26, and it will be held in the American Legion Hall at Lake Ella.
Local and visiting musicians are donating their talent and will be entertaining attendees. Tickets are $20 and all funds raised – including sales from t-shirts, Red Elephant pizza and license tags – will go to the nonprofit Organization for Artificial Reefs (OAR).
The event gets its namesake from Robby Redding, a young man from the Tallahassee area that spent a lot of time at nearby St. Teresa Beach. Organizers of the event say that Redding enjoyed watersports – including fishing and cruising the waters from Alligator Point to Lanark Village – and anything to do with big tractors.
Redding was involved in a tragic automobile crash February of 2000, leaving him with a spinal chord injury and claiming the life of his good friend, Dale Pullen.
Redding was eventually ably to adapt his activities to his abilities, which included driving a Boston Whaler and beach cruising golf cart. The remaining eight years of his life, he stayed busy volunteering and organizing get-togethers, as Robby helped non-disabled people better understand his world.
After he died in April of 2008, Robby’s family and friends wanted to continue celebrating his life and decided to create an artificial reef as a memorial. They held their first “fun’raiser” in December of that year and the subsequent fundraising made it possible for OAR to deploy the reef during the summer of 2011. It’s located 16 nautical miles south of Turkey Point, the same waters Robby used to enjoy cruising with his friends.
The reef is 50 ft. deep and includes concrete culverts, a favorite shelter for fish, and a 10,000 lb. metal sculpture. Local welder and friend of the family, Mike Bettinger, created it to look like a combination crab and a track hoe, later named, “The Crabtor.” There are also precast fish habitats, including limestone structures and several “grouper boxes.”
Now that the reef is installed and showing up on navigational charts, the “fun’raisers” will continue to help OAR enhance and maintain it.