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Senorita Vallarta Magnifico 2003 is returning to Purerto Vallarta and will be residing at The Family Cueto's Seafood Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. This is the name Colonel R. C. Buirkheimer has given to the sailfish that made him the Champion of the 2003 Puerto Vallarta de Pez Vela, sponsored by El Club de Pesca de Puerto Vallarta A.G. Col. Burkheimer, known by many as Roberto, said that this lady did not want to come to Puerto Vallarta. She fought for forty minutes, tail held high in the air, jumping and diving to remain free. At last, she surrendered and boarded the boat Magnifico on the final day of the Puerto Vallarta International Sailfish Tournament, winning for Roberto and his crew the 2003 Championship.

The XLVIII Toreo Interancional Puerto Vallarta De Pez Vela consisted of 144 fisherman aboard 58 boats. There were several brand new boats, topnotch crews and men who have fished the world searching for a championship. Roberto has traveled to Australia, The Red Sea, the Caribbean, from the Cayman Islands to Trinidad, both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean of the US and Mexico in search of an international championship. He won tournaments, but never a renowned International Tournament as held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

After winning the Pez Vala, Roberto was going to take the Senorita Vallarta Magnifico to his home, in the state of Maryland, USA, but when he returned to Banaderas Bay in December, he relived the battle of this majestic lady.

There had been three days of fishing, two boats, two crews, and a disappointing first day when the bilge filled with smoke. Losing an engine, he returned to port without a fish. Roberto's spirit had been broken but he was determined to fight on to victory. Captain Triney Chavarin, owner of the boat, called on his cousin, Cesar Chavarin, who was able to provide another boat for Roberto. He then continued his quest to catch a champion sailfish.

The next morning Roberto and his first captain, Pablo Arrsaga, boarded the Magnifico, where he found Pablo's younger brother, David, to be the Captain, along with first mate, Juan. It was three o'clock in the morning and Roberto told the crew, "We have to work as a team. When we get a strike, clear the deck, set the hook and let me fish." The second day, they returned with two sailfish but found both to be a kilogram light in qualifying. With Roberto's desire to win, he asked his team to start at 12:01 am on the last day. "We can win! We can win!" Tired, after a 15 hour day, the team went for a short nap before they started an 18 hour journey into the history books of the Puerto Vallarta De Pez Vela.

After a shower, a hot meal, and a couple of hours sleep, the team was ready for another day in search of a champion. The Magnifico departed the Marina Vallarta at 12:01 am leaving the sound of music, laughter and those enjoying a warm star bright night of vacation fun. Taking turns at the helm, it was hours at sea before arriving at their destination know as El Bajo. Dawn broke, and Roberto was surprised to find his boat was one of 27 others who felt this could be the home of the next champion.

The team was ready, a line was in the water and they proceeded to fish the outer wall of the bank. At 6:25 am the reel started singing and only minutes after 7:00 am the first sailfish was brought aboard the boat. Looking at their third sailfish, Roberto told the crew this had to be a brother of yesterday's catch, because of its length and width. He said, "I want to catch the Lady of the Sea!"

They went to live bait and after an hour, with the sun rising into the sky, Roberto said, "Enough of live bait, back to our old winning ways!" The live bait was discarded and they went back to bait and lures. The fishing line danced in the wake while the sun and lack of food took its toll on the team. Pablo prepared fresh sailfish ceviche for an early brunch. The sun was getting high in the sky as the fishing rod almost jumped from its holder. Roberto leaped to the chair, putting the rod in place to watch yet another sailfish tail dance across the sea running away with his fishing line. The crew was keeping an eye on the sailfish as Roberto kept fighting to gain some line, only to lose it again. All the time he was saying, "Come to me my lady." It was after 11:00 am before this sailfish would at last be aboard. Looking at the smiles on the crew's faces, with glee in his voice, Roberto announced, "She looks like a Champion. Now, we need a marlin to make our day."

It was 2:20 PM and the fun began again. Yes! It was a marlin, and the fight was on! This powerful fish would not relent to Roberto's strong arms and the ability of a good captain. When Roberto was able to bring it close to the boat it would sound or dive again to take the line away. It was over an hour and five dives before this fish would finally give up. It took the entire crew to bring the fish aboard. Roberto fell back exhausted. His arms and hands were so tired he could not hold a drink. The smiles of a happy fisherman and team were captured on film. With the dock an hour and half away they decided to call it a day. They arrived at the official weighing dock shortly before 5:00 Pm, where the Tournament Officials inspected their catch.

The sailfish took the number one spot, but it was sad to see the marlin lose by forth kgs. Watching boat after boat arrive, Roberto said the next hour was the longest in his life when another sailfish approached the scale under the watchful eyes of the judges. He stood tall and tried to keep a winning smile as one fish after another appeared, only to be laid aside as his Lady hung in her Glory.

The gun fired and Roberto, standing with his lady, held a hand high in a salute of victory! Pictures were taken and the Lady was lowered so the judges could make the final inspection. It was official. They announced, "The Champion is a Lady." The Senorita Vallarta Magnifico 2003 was Roberto's delight and would place his name in the record book of the Puerta Vallarta Pez Vela.

The 49th Puerto Vallarta International Sailfish Tournament will be held on the 3rd week of November, 2004. Exact dates still to be announced. For information e-mail at