Big Shell Cleanup 2020

25th Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup

Saturday February 29th “Leap Day” dawned with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 40’s. The tide was fine and we found ourselves with perfect conditions. No Northeast winds or fronts to bring the tides close to the dunes so we were set with a plan. This time we would send the first groups further than we had ever done before with Clay Wernli’s group headed to the 45 mile mark.

   A new record of 1500 volunteers showed up and together we removed 60 tons of trash from 33 miles of beach – over half of the 62 miles of beach south of Park Rd 22! Billy would have been proud though those that knew Billy know he would never have said so. He would have said “We got half the beach, but you all missed a half a mile near the blah blah mile mark.” In other words, we can always do better.

   We’d like to thank Leon McNinch and the Ruth Parr Sparks Foundation for their continued support. For the second year our point man representing Yeti, Kurt Obersteller, came in huge with more Yeti products - water bottles, cups, and 500 Yeti hats. Kurt also led a group of Yeti campers cleaning the north end of the beach.  Thank you to Curtis Mai and Sharkathon for their generous donation and help in securing this year’s 25th Annual t-shirts designed beautifully by Jacob Augs of Augs Art and Design.

   Our media partners this year came through again. Thank you to Big Frank Franklin and Sam Eulenfeld of K99 and 1360 KKTX for their promos and the public affairs podcast promoting this year’s cleanup. Thanks to KZTV’s Action 10 News Coastal Living Program for featuring us on the February 28th program. Thanks to Everett and Pam Johnson of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine for getting the word out all across Texas. Thanks to Dale Rankin and our own, Jay Gardner for their coverage in the Padre Island Moon. Ron Henne Jr., thank you for running our ads to our fishing friends in the Saltwater Angler and thank you for highlighting us on the forum and on the Weekend Outlooks.

   Thanks to Katherine and Daniel Dain of the Corpus Christi area Dominos locations for the pizza. They have been with us since the early days as has the Corpus Christi Chapter of CCA who furnished the swag bags and the Weinerschnitzel chili cheese dogs. Thank you John Blaha! Thank you to HEB in Flour Bluff for feeding the troops down island with snacks and supplies. Thank you to Michael Laskowski Sr. and Lisa Laskowski for the Trac-Work gloves they brought down island.

   We’d like to thank these partners in conservation for their sponsorship this year – The Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Coastal Bend Audubon Society, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Ekstrom Family who spearheaded our plastic recycling efforts which resulted in 1.5 tons of recyclable plastic.

   Thank you to NuStar, Value Bank, Texas State Aquarium, Melvin Schneider, Security Service Federal Credit Union, The Bait Bucket, Steve and Donna Gregory, Federal Steel, Graf Plumbing, and Gambler Specialties whose donations make all things possible.

   And I would like to conclude with a shout out to all of those people behind the scenes who are invaluable to us and without them none of this would be possible. The Padre Island National Seashore Personnel, our intrepid section leaders who organize the troops down island, Clay Wernli, Mel Schneider, Don Kraeft, Ricky Torres, Eddie Collins, David Williams, Rolland Hyatt, Brad Tabor, Troy Adler/Greg Stanford, Reagan Arnold and the Citgo Crew, Sean Curless/Casey Sanger, Bill and Will Bray, Dr. Tony Hein, Chris Cherry, Steve and Donna Gregory, Logon Connor, James Clark, Shawn Queeney, Eric Ozolins/Scott Nelson, Tim and Jennifer Merchant, David Webb, Russell Weir, Jay Gardner, Tyler Thorsen, Patrick Sciantarelli, CCA rookie recruits, David and Erica Hulse, and Jeff Wolda in the Friends of Padre Command Vehicle.

    Back at the Malaquite Visitor’s Center, these friends worked their magic setting up the t-shirt and survey card stations and helped with the after party cleanup – Matt Snowden, Willie Rivera, Scotty and Jennifer Groza, Angela Prado Austin, John and Karen Botter, Dree and Sagan Baxter, Reagan Pape, Gaby Garcia-Paredes de Berry, Cliff and Courtney Johnstone, Val Chilton, Kimberly Prowse, Grace Santana Hawley, Rachel Schmitt, Blake Purcell, Jeremy McCulloch and Friends of Padre President, Aaron Baxter.

  Until next year "Life's A Hoot. Get You Some of It. Be Careful, Be Courteous, Be Kind", Capt. Billy L. Sandifer"

Contact: Tyler Thorsen – Vice President - Friends of Padre for more information. Email: or 361 779 – 3044