View images from Brian Robison's 2018 'Reel Em' In' Fishing Tournament that partnered with K9s4Cops to help make sure deputies have a companion on the streets.
WABASHA, Minn. — The Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office currently has three K9s in its department that help keep the southeastern region of Minnesota safe from crime and drugs.
The department might not have any police dogs if it weren’t for Brian Robison.
Robison’s “Reel ’Em In Foundation” has partnered with K9s4Cops in recent years to help make sure deputies like Mike Ayers have a companion on the streets.
“They’ve actually donated all three of the K9s we have working the street right now,” Ayers said. “Our K9 unit wouldn’t be where it’s at if it wasn’t for them.”
Ayers has been partnered with his K9, Halo, since November. Both were on hand Friday night as Robison’s foundation hosted a live auction at Slippery’s Bar and Grill in Wabasha to help raise money for K9s4Cops, which helps law enforcement agencies purchase K9s.
Robison said seeing the dogs grow and make an impact in the community is the primary reason his foundation partners with K9s4Cops.
“I think one of the most special things is how many cops we have affected,” the Vikings defensive end said. “It’s not one of those things where we give them a dog and then we never see them again.
“They come back and show appreciation and bring their dogs. We had two dogs here … it’s amazing to be able to see those guys and how appreciative they are,” Robison added. “That’s really what makes me want to strive to make this thing better each and every year.”
Friday night’s live auction was a prelude for the main event on Saturday — a fishing tournament that included Robison, current Vikings Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph and a handful of professional fishermen.
But the biggest name in attendance was Randy Moss.
The former Vikings wide receiver, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, was a hot commodity as people bid on the chance to fish with the Vikings Ring of Honor member.
The spot in Moss’ boat went to Wabasha resident David Meyer, who forked over $7,000 for a worthy cause.
Meyer said “he wasn’t going to lose” the bidding war so he could hang out with Moss.
“I grew up on this river and have been fishing since I was 10,” Meyer said. “I love to fish so how cool would it be to fish with one of the greatest Vikings ever? To fish with a guy like that, it’s a good boat to be in.
“And it goes for a great cause. As a community, we’re really excited that Brian picked this spot. We really want to show support,” Meyer said. “Locally here, we support our police, and they’ve been a good force for us. I personally know some buddies that are on the force that had K9s, so it’s a really incredible deal.”
Robison was appreciative that Moss, an avid fisherman, showed up to support his foundation.
“He doesn’t have to say yes to this. For him to come out shows the type of character he has. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the guys that came out here,” Robison said “They are household names, and they know when they come here they are going to get bombarded by fans, but they embrace it and that’s what I love about it.”
Moss told the crowd: “One thing that I’ve always said is that the NFL is a brotherhood. I just want to say, on behalf of Brian Robison’s foundation, thank you for your contributions. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, and I bet you we are going to win this.”
While Moss drew the most buzz, Robison’s bid raised the most money at $7,500 in a package that included a chance to not only fish with Robison on Saturday, but also down in his home state of Texas.
Griffen’s boat went for $4,100 and Joseph’s boat went for $3,600. Throw in bids for Vikings alumni such as Scott Studwell, Chuck Foreman and Carl Lee, and the amount raised quickly surpassed $30,000.
“You can tell the impact with the outpouring of support and Brian’s teammates coming here,” Ayers said. “You can tell his organization is where it’s at because of what he does.”
Giving back to the police community means a great deal to Robison, whose father Jimmy was a 29-year veteran of the Houston Police Department. Robison gave all the credit to his wife, Jayme, who he said does most of the work behind the scenes.
“He sees what I did, so him doing what he’s doing is great,” Jimmy Robison said. “Jayme works her tail off, too, so they’re really doing something good with little things that help the community.”
Kristi Schiller, the founder of K9s4Cops, was also on hand. Schiller has known Robison for a few years and praised his character and generosity in giving back to his home communities in Texas and Minnesota.
“There’s no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get,” Schiller said. “They have no ego, and it is so refreshing. I can’t say enough about him and Jayme and their family.”
Fat Cat Newton, a professional fisherman and the emcee of Friday’s live auction, succinctly summed up Robison’s spirit.
“He’s a green-as-grass, down-to-Earth, country-as-cornbread good ol’ boy,” Newton said. “You wouldn’t think he’s an NFL football player because he’s such a good dude. He started this to do good, and it’s not about him. It’s all about K9s4Cops.”
Moss, it turns out, backed up his Friday-night boast as he teamed with Meyer and pro fisherman Ott DeFoe to take first place.
“He backed it up, but he had a pretty good boat captain in Ott DeFoe,” Robison said. “He walked it, he talked it and came away with some hardware.”
While Robison said there was plenty of razzing going on, the 12-year NFL veteran said the biggest takeaway was the impact his “Reel ’Em In Foundation” continues to have on police and K9 communities.
“I’m very proud of what Jayme and I have been able to build here,” Robison said. “Over the past two or three years, we’ve been able to really build this into something special.
“It’s just a fun weekend and it’s all worth it,” Robison added.