COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — When BASS member Bob Radney learned about Blake Muhlenbruck's auction to help the disabled go fishing, he knew he wanted to help.
So he and his wife, Betsy, donated one of Betsy's quilts. She has been making quilts for more than 30 years, sometimes giving them to relatives and friends on special occasions.
I don't bass fish. I quilt," she laughed. "It makes for a happy house. If I couldn't quilt, it would be like Bob not being able to fish. I can't imagine it."
Floral purples and black borders define the eye-catching quilt to be included in the auction, possibly on eBay. With donations from BASS members, pros, guides and other members of the fishing industry, Muhlenbruck hopes to raise $1.5 million for the construction of 100 handicap-accessible fishing docks across the country.
"After the article on our auction ran in Bassmaster [see the September/October 2008 issue, page 16], Bob and Betsy contacted us and explained that Betsy wanted to donate a handmade quilt," said Muhlenbruck, himself a disabled angler. "When the box arrived, Dawn [Muhlenbruck] and I couldn't wait to open it.
"I am not sure how long it took Betsy to make this quilt, but it is absolutely gorgeous! It is truly an elaborate piece of art, one of a kind."
Betsy said she makes "usable" quilts, as opposed to artistic. In this process that typically takes three to four weeks, she sometimes enlists Bob — when he's not fishing.
"She puts the pattern on the floor," Bob said. "And she asks, "Should it go this way or that way?' I give my opinion, but it usually doesn't mean anything."
The donation, however, does mean something, as it is added to an inventory that includes autographed items from Bassmaster Elite Series pros Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese and Mike Iaconelli.
"Blake is a local Colorado guy, and our club works with handicapped kids," said Bob, a member of the Pikes Peak Bassmasters. "That's why we decided to do this."
Every year, Colorado bass clubs take children with disabilities fishing at Horsetooth Reservoir.
"We also work with Fort Carson kids whose fathers are in Iraq and Afghanistan," Bob said. "Bass and walleye clubs take them fishing so they can have fun and get their minds off what is going on in the world. Last year, we took 60."
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