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Betty Wells: A Legacy of Tradition

It could be argued that no one knows the inner workings of TIFT better than Betty Wells. Between 1989 and 2014, Betty Wells served as Tournament Director for the Texas International Fishing Tournament. She played a major role in organizing and instigating many of the TIFT events and traditions we all enjoy today. 

Originally from Illinois, Wells ended up falling in love with a Port Isabel local while she was here visiting, and has been a resident here ever since. Actually, the first experience Wells had with TIFT was around the time her and her husband, Vere Wells, got married.

Wells recalls that summer in 1975, “I was informed that, if we wanted to have our wedding the weekend of TIFT, that we needed to plan it for sometime after the TIFT Awards ceremony. I understood the importance of this family tradition, so, they had the awards ceremony that Sunday morning, and around 3 o ‘clock, we got married.”

Evidently, Well’s fondness of the tournament and the tradition would grow with every passing year, as she ultimately accepted the position of TIFT tournament director in 1989, the 51st TIFT. 

“It was extremely challenging. There was no large frame of reference for what had been done for the past 5 decades. I had a great team though and we survived the transition, learned from it, and made it better every year.”

A major challenge Wells and her team faced had to do with restructuring the tournament from a business perspective. After some tedious work of reorganizing certain financial components of the tournament, and acquiring a better sense of how to best utilize tournament revenue, the organization was able to implement the TIFT scholarship program we all know and appreciate today. 

This scholarship program is one of Well’s favorite parts of the tournament, along with the students who earn these awards. “I always loved the Piggy Perch division and watching all the little ones bring in their stringers of fish. It was always my hope that those same children would reappear as scholarship recipients, and then again, as adults with their own children fishing in the Piggy Perch division.”

“I believe that that is how the tournament will perpetuate itself.”

For Wells, TIFT has always been about camaraderie and family; about people getting together and being able to see each other for the first time all year; about encouraging tradition in family and integrity in one another. “It is these characteristics that make TIFT so memorable and have people coming back year after year. It was great to be a part of the growth of this tournament.” 



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