Anglers, sponsors step up for soldiers

GRAHAM, Texas — A major boost in sponsorship gave wounded soldiers an enjoyable experience during the second Operation Kick Some Bass Tournament, Sept. 21 at Lake Graham/Lake Eddleman.

Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens competitor Brent Homan hosted the tournament that drew 47 veterans from all branches of the military service. The soldiers were paired in the tournament with 47 volunteer boaters including Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gary Klein and Bassmaster Open competitors Josh Douglas and Gene Eisenmann.

“We had some soldiers who had never been in a bass boat or it was their first time ever fishing a tournament, and they had a ball,” said Homan, an Army veteran who was severely injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Last year’s tournament attracted 13 soldiers and five sponsors, but Homan was able to recruit 50 sponsors for this year’s event. Homan estimated he gave away more than $10,000 in product to the soldiers and volunteers and for raffle items.

“It’s hard to get a sponsor out to the event, but once the sponsors get there they fall in love because they see what it does for these soldiers,” Homan said. “If you can a make a difference for one soldier, it is all worth it.”

The tournament raised $7,000 for Freedom Care Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization providing veterans with healing opportunities through outdoor activities and fellowship programs.

Anyone interested in participating in next year’s tournament can e-mail Homan at [email protected].