Bass Tournament At Lake Keystone Needs Volunteers

Thursday, September 7th 2006, 11:30 am
By: News On 6

You couldn't ask for better weather to hit the lake for some fishing. A veteran's group that helps people with disabilities enjoy the great outdoors is looking for volunteers.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day says Lake Keystone is the place to be this weekend for a big bass tournament by the local chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. The event draws competitors from all over the country.

For many anglers, competing in a bass tournament is all about landing a big one. But for this group, the opportunity is what matters most. Charlie Johnson: "The outdoors. The good life. It sure beats being behind the doors of the house all day. You can't move." Greg Joyce: "It's really important, especially for our newly disabled veterans coming back. They think life is over and it's really not."

These anglers are competing in the Paralyzed Veterans of America bass tournament at Lake Keystone, one of four on the group's nationwide tour this year. "He's a little too small and he's the wrong species. We prefer to catch bass because this is a bass tournament."

The tournament isn't just for veterans. It's open to anyone with impaired mobility. Greg Joyce: "When they come out here for the first time, and they see guys on the deck of their boat in a wheelchair, the light goes off and they go, you know, I can do this. And I want to be out there."

A tournament like this one couldn't be pulled off without a lot of volunteers. It takes about 60 volunteers to help at each tournament. At this one, more volunteers are needed. The tournament needs four additional bass boats, extra boats as standby vessels, plus volunteers for other duties. Charlie Johnson: "everybody is so greatly appreciated by us. We couldn't do it without them. Without them, we wouldn't have any tournament."

For the more than 50 competitors, the camaraderie is as important as the catch and lifting spirits is as important as lifting trophies. Event organizer Alan Earl: "getting us out. Getting us doing what we love and having a really good time."

The tournament is this Saturday and Sunday at the Prairie View boat ramp in Mannford. If you would like to volunteer call 815-955-6243.