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Brian Robison Wrangles Fish, Not Quarterbacks, for Good Cause

Vikings DE Brian Robison held the 2017 "Reel 'Em In Foundation” Tournament in which proceeds from the auction that included a fishing experience with Robison and a variety of Vikings went to support K9s4Cops.

WABASHA, Minn. –When K9 Deputy Jim Goham's canine partner, Havoc, was struck and killed by a vehicle in April of 2016, he was devastated.

Goham and Havoc had been working together for the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office since 2012, and the partners were inseparable. The accident occurred in Goham's 10th year as a K9 deputy. Prior to Havoc, Goham had started his career in 2006 with K9 Titan, who was retired due to medical issues in December of 2011.

With Titan retired and after suddenly losing Havoc, Goham considered leaving the K9 unite.

"I went through a short process of debating if I was going to continue [on the unit] or not, and I made the decision that I still wanted to do it," Goham told Vikings.com.

Thankfully, Brian Robison learned about the incident and reached out.

Robison and his wife, Jayme, together with their "Reel 'Em In Foundation" and K9s4COPS, wanted to gift Goham with a new canine partner. In late October, Goham received K9 Valor, a male Belgian Malinois-German Shephard mix who will turn 2 on July 5. While Goham was unable to start K9 training with Valor until the spring of 2017, the partners will graduate from Saint Paul K9 School on May 25.

"To be able to do this again, to have that opportunity, is huge," Goham said. "It's something that Brian doesn't have to do. He's in a position that it works for him, and he's willing to do it, which is a big deal."

Goham and K9 Valor spent time on the banks of the Mississippi River Saturday for Robison's first Reel 'Em In Foundation Tournament in Minnesota. The event directly benefited K9s4COPS. Goham visited with Vikings fans and other guests, and K9 Valor especially received a lot of attention from youth at the event.

A K9's primary job is to help locate narcotics, suspects or other evidence. Goham explained that a K9 also effectively helps bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. Neighborhood members are often drawn to public demonstrations with the K9s, where they are able to approach officers and ask questions in a comfortable setting.

Goham explained that Valor is not a pet; rather, he's a partner in the profession.

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Photos courtesy of K9 Deputy Jim Goham

"It's a very close relationship," Goham added. "On and off duty, we're together 24-7."

When Robison was looking for a charity that his foundation would primarily support, he was drawn to K9s4Cops because of his father's longtime career in law enforcement.

Jimmy Robison said it wasn't until last year that he realized the types of concerns that Brian experienced during his father's 29 years of service.

"There were times he didn't know [if I was] going to come home," said Jimmy, his voice cracking with emotion.

Jimmy said that he's watched Brian accomplish any goal he's set for himself, and the Reel 'Em In Foundation is one significant example of that.

"It's great to see your kid grow up and do that," Jimmy said. "But as I always tell people, 'I'm very proud of his accomplishments with sports and such, but I'm even more proud of the man that he's become.' "

Robison is a believer in K9s4COPS not only because of the protection the dogs offer their partners but for the enormous impact they have across the nation. According to the nonprofit's founder, Kristie Schiller, K9s4COPS in the past seven years has provided 200 K9s that have collectively helped locate $212 million of contraband.

Schiller has also partnered with Robison in K9s4KIDS, a subset of the charity that was created in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012. Since the launch of the program in 2013, K9s have been placed in schools all over the country and are now helping to protect 1.3 million children on a daily basis.

"Brian is a huge part of that," Schiller said. "I hate to say this because he's a big defensive end, but Brian is one of our biggest cheerleaders. We're very, very excited [to have him on board]."

Prior to this past weekend, The Reel 'Em In Foundation has held two fundraising fishing tournaments in Texas.

"I'm really loving the direction that this thing's going," Robison said Friday night. "It's very important to me. This is an opportunity for me to affect people in a positive manner.

"It's beautiful scenery, great fishing water out here," he continued. "But not only that, the Wabasha community has really come out here in full force."

Robison was joined by former Vikings Pete Bercich, Carl Lee and Hall of Famer Chris Doleman; Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur; and current teammates Sam Bradford, Adam Thielen, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Tom Johnson and Marcus Sherels.

Each Vikings representative was paired with a professional angler, and the attendees of Friday's dinner could then bid to fish with the pair of pros during Saturday's tournament. All proceeds from the auction – which also included a fishing experience with Robison in Texas and a variety of Vikings and fishing-related packages – went to support K9s4Cops.

Joseph joined Robison for both of the 2017 tournaments, saying the decision to step up and support his fellow lineman was an easy one.

"Brian's my guy," Joseph said. "If I had any events or anything that I need help with, if he has time, I know he'd do the same thing … we're family."

Skeet Fowler, a professional angler who regularly helps Robison's foundation events, said that a lot of people don't understand the behind-the-scenes work Robison puts into the tournaments. Robison did much of the legwork himself – getting sponsors and donations, booking the location and arranging the volunteers and boat pairings.

Fowler explained that it's second nature to Robison to do everything he can to support K9s4COPS.

"When you see a dog getting purchased for one of these counties or police forces, it's very [close] to Brian's heart," Fowler said. "A lot of people don't see that part of Brian; they see the mean, football side of Brian, but I can tell you that there's a [different] side to Brian than just football."

Robison and his teammates arrived bright and early Saturday morning to hit the water. The boats left the dock around 8 a.m. and returned shortly after 3 p.m., allowing each fan that placed a winning bid to enjoy a full day of fishing with one of their favorite Vikings.

View images from Brian Robinson's Reel 'Em In Foundation Fishing Tournament benefiting K9s4COPs in Lake Sam Rayburn in Texas which featured several Minnesota Vikings.

Nick Anderson made the quick 35-minute drive from Winona to Wabasha for the event that he said could nearly be categorized as once-in-a-lifetime. He was able to spend the day with Thielen and nine-year FLW Tour Pro Chris McCall.

"To be able to shoot the [breeze] and talk and hang out with somebody as big as Adam Thielen or even our pro tour guide, that was really a unique opportunity that I didn't want to pass up," said Anderson, who added that he and Thielen chatted about everything from football to cheese curds.

"[Chris] was from Texas, and he didn't have a clue what cheese curds were, so we were laughing and having a hoot and a holler about that," Anderson said. "I think the biggest thing I took away from it is that Adam Thielen, he's the Minnesota-born-and-raised kind of guy, and he's incredibly down to earth."

Most of Robison's teammates don't share his same affinity for fishing, but they enjoyed supporting him in raising money for a good cause.

Johnson said he had been originally slated to attend the Texas tournament, but when he was unable to participate, he told Robison he wanted to help with the Minnesota event.

"I told him that I was willing to do whatever. Whatever role he wanted me to play, wherever he needed me to be, I was going to come out to support him and support Jayme," Johnson said. "I hopefully can catch at least one fish; I'm just looking out for one. B-Rob took me out fishing like four or five times, and I told him that I'm terrible at it. Every time, I prove that."

With the help of Fishing League Worldwide Tour Pro Andy Young, however, Johnson achieved his goal and then some. Johnson's boat weighed in with 15 pounds, 4 ounces of bass following the tournament.

While none of the Vikings players came away with the top weight of the day, they all enjoyed their time on the river.

"I definitely haven't done a lot of fishing before, but today was fun," said Hunter. "I had an extreme pro out there with me, so he taught me a lot of fishing tricks … I like to do a lot of outdoor things, so this was something that I really enjoyed, with all the people, the kids and all that.

"It means a lot to us to be here," Hunter added. "We're all brothers, and we all support each other no matter what – on and off the field. It's like a big family. We have each other's backs, and it's just a brotherhood."

The camaraderie of the Vikings locker room is not unlike the loyalty of a police force unit.

What proved to be a relaxing weekend in the sun made a lasting impact through the thousands of dollars raised for K9s4COPS, and Goham is grateful to Robison and his foundation for making a difference.

"To see somebody reach out to that standard and do that for [me and my family] is huge," Goham said. "I appreciate it for the fact that it gives me another jaunt in my K9 career to do this. The generosity has been [amazing] from Brian and Jayme."

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