Disabled veterans teamed up with anglers Saturday at Huckleberry Harbor for the second annual United Special Sportsman Alliance Disabled Veterans Bass Fishing Tournament held in Shawano over the weekend. The derby is a chance to get veterans with disabilities outside and on the water for a day of fun fishing. USSA Veteran Hunt Coordinator Darrell Kauth says there were 31 veterans at the start of the derby with about 20 more filtering in throughout the day.
“Everybody that we talk to is just happier than heck, the boaters that came and fished with the veterans and all the veterans want to come back every year” said Kauth. “Most of them from last year came again, plus we added another 15-17 this year, so they look forward to it all year round.”
The USSA is based in Pittsville, Wisconsin and specializes in sending critically ill and disabled veterans, as well as youth, on a free outdoor adventure, such as hunting and fishing trips. Kauth said they do it in the honor of Lt. Col. Dennis Johnson, who was killed in the Pentagon during 9/11. As far as the derby, the entry fees went right back to the derby’s winners.
“The boaters pay a $100 entry fee and it’s 100 percent payback to them, so there will be first, second and third place for the boaters” Kauth added. “In the morning, they were paired up with the veterans so they don’t know who they were going to fish with ahead of time.”
Pontoon rides were also being given throughout the afternoon for veterans, their families and members of the public who showed their support by stopping down.