There are many ways to show one’s support for American troops, and the Leavenworth Bass Club is doing its part.
Less than two months from now, the organization will host the fourth annual Fishing For Freedom fishing tournament at Truman Lake.
The competition is modeled similar to other events — anglers are paired, there is a blast off at a designated start time, competitors fish for a certain amount of time and at the end of the day, a weigh-in is conducted to decide the winners.
But that is where the similarities end. F3 is an all-volunteer ran event that pairs local and regional anglers with Global War on Terrorism veterans and wounded warrior participants from all over the region.
Volunteers come from across the Midwest and South; Nebraska, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and, of course, Kansas will all be represented at this year’s event.
The American heroes come from all over as well, with warriors participating from Kansas’ Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth; Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base; Louisiana’s Fort Polk and Texas’ Fort Hood to name a few.
The weekend is all about having a good time outdoors while showing American heroes how much their service and sacrifice is appreciated.
In that light, F3 provides an all-expense paid weekend for the military personnel, which begins with a pre-tournament banquet on Oct. 6 and culminates with a buddy bass tournament on Oct. 7.
Every participant receives a rod and reel plus a full tackle box from event sponsors, and plaques are presented to the top 10 teams as well as big bass and trash fish honors.
Meals are provided for both warriors and volunteers and additionally, every warrior’s lodging for the weekend is paid for by sponsorship and donations. But most of all, it’s the smiles and laughter, cherished memories, and new friendships that endure.
Following the banquet and pre-tournament meeting on Saturday afternoon where participants check in, they are then paired up for Sunday’s day of fishing.
After some dinner, fellowship and entertainment, participants head off to make their last minute preparations for the big day.
On Sunday, the warriors and their assigned boaters meet up before daylight for breakfast that’s provided by Long Shoal Marina. When dawn breaks, the site of wide eyes in patriotic dress adorns a field of eager anglers as the national anthem rings across the water.
As the parade of boats pass through the launch point and anglers head out for their day of fishing, the physical and psychological challenges from multiple combat tours are not on the warrior’s minds.
F3 provides the heroes an opportunity to forget about the last deployment or their next therapy session and focus on catching fish and having fun.
Page 2 of 2 - These are all volunteer warriors who have made enormous sacrifices to defend this country’s freedom. The Leavenworth Bass Club feels that hosting this weekend is the least they can do to say thank you.
F3 relies totally on organizations and volunteers to donate their time, money and resources to provide these warriors with this experience.
If you are a boat owner and would like to volunteer to take a warrior fishing or you would like to support the Fishing for Freedom event in some other way, visit wwww.fishingforfreedom.us for additional information.