South African prevails during Coronavirus


James Overstreet

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The COVID-19 “shelter in place” buzzword took on a meaning of its own for Neels Beneke. The South African came to the U.S. in late February with the intention of competing in the Bassmaster Central Open at Lake Lewisville, then returning home until this week’s event on the Arkansas River. Instead, Beneke sheltered in place in this country, or faced losing sight of a lifelong dream.

Beneke came here with nothing but his fishing tackle. No boat. No vehicle. Just a dream separated by 10,000 miles. Beneke camped for weeks at Opens tournament fisheries, only to have the events postponed and the dream put on hold again. He remained focused through faith in reaching his goal. To say Beneke has steadfast determination is an understatement. 

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