CLEM BINNINGS AWARD
Clem Binnings. Builder, engineer, husband, father and lifelong sportsman. A sophisticated yet down-to-earth man, Clem was an expert in Shakespeare and early morning French Quarter beer runs. Clem always knew how to have a good time. But, like all men, he had some ways about him that weren't quite right. In Clem's case, they became legend.
Like the time Clem, fishing alone in early spring lost his balance and fell off the boat into the still cold Gulf of Mexico. Realizing his chance to avoid hypothermia depended on drying his clothes, Clem, thinking quickly, nimbly stripped naked and tied his garments to the bow rails. He was spotted driving his boat bareback at full speed into Coco Marina while his clothes, undies and all, flapped in the breeze.
Like the time, Walter and Steve pulled up to the camp one summer evening. Clem had his boat on its trailer, parked up close to the camp. It
was on the trailer because Clem had managed to collect most of the monofilament in the Gulf of Mexico on the boat's prop and lower unit. Tiring quickly of the tedious chore of stripping the line, Clem neatly solved the problem by dousing his outboard motor lower unit with gasoline (next to the gas tank, camp and truck). As Walter and Steve arrived, Clem was struggling to strike a match to ignite the gas and burn off the line. They persuaded him to stop and allow them to cut off the line.
If you have any doubts, ask Johnny Glover how Clem saved three lives by draining the battery on Clem's old Buick.
Or ask Lettice how Clem ran out of gas offshore and spent a restful night on a nearby rig.
Compass problems. Too shallow marsh. Stranded boats. Sand bar where one used to not be. Well you get the idea.
We lost Clem these many years ago and we miss him. His original camp has evolved to the Alibi Camp krewe we are today. Since 1985, we have honored Clem by the annual presentation of the coveted Clem Binnings Award. The lucky winner is recognized for unlikely seamanship and sportsmanship and gets his/her name on the trophy in the Camp, a picture on the Wall of Shame and a story of the misadventure added to the Clem Binnings Award Record Book. The winners are all listed here.
So, the Clem Binnings Award celebrates the vagaries of fishing, boating, and life. We all laugh at ourselves and with each other. I know that Clem would enjoy it all. Remember, when you make that goof, stumble a little bit, or maybe trip over your own lip, you may hear... "And the winner is ________!"
"Winners" of the Clem Binnings Award: