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T.K Bouressa, Cliff Brown, Rick Smith, Bill Guzman

T.K and Bill were the winners of the 5th Annual Fishing for Freedom tournament and also won big bass.

Photographs of Fishing for Freedom courtesy of Sherran Bard of Eyes of Texas Photography http://www.flickr.com/search/show/?q=Fishing+for+Freedom,+Sept.+24-25,+2010,+Lake+Belton

Fishing for Freedom Results.  Thanks to everyone who participated and who helped make our 5th annual event a success.  Remember to support our sponsors who gave so generously of their time and dollars.

Sports News Article

27 September 2010

For Immediate Release

On the Dock with Rick Smith

Take a Soldier Fishing

The 5th Annual Fishing for Freedom bass tournament was held this past Saturday on Lake Belton.  Fishing for Freedom is a free open bass tournament where boaters volunteer their time, boats and tackle to take a member of the armed forces on a fun-filled day of tournament style fishing.  Over 240 boaters from all over the nation came to town to participate and to honor our military heroes.  Friday night over 1,000 people gathered at the Killeen Convention Center to eat some great Texas BBQ, which was sponsored by Texas Partners Federal Credit Union, Ft. Hood BOSS, Texas Boat World, Marine Outlet, Academy Sports & Outdoors and Stanley Motor Group.  Then acting Ft. Hood Commander, Major General Will Grimsley, welcomed everyone to Central Texas and thanked them for their efforts on behalf of the military.  The keynote speaker, boat building legend and Triton Boat Company President, Earl Bentz, honored the military for giving us the freedoms that we enjoy every day.  Earl said that after the events of 9/11 he wanted to join up to answer our nation’s call.  Wiser heads suggested that he could do more for the nation by staying home and encouraging and supporting the military, which he has committed to doing.  It is worth noting that Earl has donated almost $150,000 in boats, motors and trailers to Fishing for Freedom over the last six years and this is only one of several events that he supports across the nation.

Saturday morning starting at 4:30 found the boat owners and soldiers launching their boats at the various boat ramps on Lake Belton.  There was not a breath of air and humidity hung heavily, casting an eerie glow off the navigation lights of the boats.  By 6:30 am the boaters anxiously awaited safe daylight for the tournament to start.  Sgt. Goss of Ft. Hood sang the National Anthem and then Chaplain Cpt. Pena blessed the fleet.  Jeff Cook, weigh master, started the teams based on their team number.  Each team was allowed approximately 30 seconds to work their way toward the main lake before the next team started.  This allowed for an orderly start.  In order to make the fishing times about the same for all teams, the teams that started first had to weigh-in at 1:00 pm and then every flight of 25 teams weighed-in at 15 minute intervals.

A large tent and stadium seating was supplied by Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA) for the weigh-in.  The first flight of 25 boats started showing back up at the weigh-in at BLORA at 12:30 pm.  Everything was moving along smoothly until a storm blew in from the north bring lightening, winds and heavy rains.  Many of the teams rushed back to the safety of the dock and tent to weigh-in early and avoid the severe weather conditions.  Some of the boaters had to beach their boats on the shore.  Fortunately no one was hurt.

The winning team of Bill Guzman and T.K. Bouressa caught three fish weighing a total of 13.32 pounds.  They also received big bass honors with their largest fish being 7.99 pounds.  For their efforts they won over $2,000 in cash and a brand new Triton bass boat with Mercury outboard motor worth almost $20,000.  Not bad for a tournament where neither the boater nor the soldier had to pay an entry fee.  Second place went to Eric Wendeborn and his soldier Justin Baker.  They won over $2,500.  Payouts went to the top 15 teams and hundreds of door prizes were given out to the participants.

The 240 teams caught a total of 297 fish weighing 556 pounds giving an average weight of 1.87 pounds.  Fifty-four percent of the field caught one or more fish.  The fish were released back into Lake Belton.

The Fishing for Freedom foundation is already planning next year’s event for sometime in October.
 
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