Fishing for Freedom still a success after brief cancellation - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

BELTON

Fishing for Freedom still a success after brief cancellation

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BELTON -

It was canceled just days ago, but with the deal in Washington D.C. coming Wednesday, a popular fishing tournament was back on Saturday.

Tournament Organizer Cliff Brown says the day is about saying thank you to our active duty soldiers and veterans.

"Being a retired army guy myself this is our way of giving back to the soldiers that give so much," said Brown.

Service members were paired with professional fishermen and then took to Lake Belton for a day of fishing. Soldiers say the tourney is a great way to spend a day.

"It's really nice whenever the community can back the army and all military service members in general and put something like this on," said Cpt. Antonio Ureste.

The event is set up like a professional tournament, a first for many and included a weigh-in to determine who wins. The winner will take away this $25,000 boat but all participants will take away the memories they made today.

"For me it's [a chance] to say thank you in person and share the passion we have for fishing. It's something I'll remember for a lifetime and hopefully they will as well," said Jeff Cook with Faith Angler Network. 

Fort Hoods Brigadier General shared that sentiment.

"They make relationships that last forever. This means so much, we can't thank them enough," said BG. LeMasters.

But the day almost didn't happen. Just a few days ago, boat ramps were bolted shut. No lake access meant no tournament, leaving many people involved upset.  

"We had to cancel it Tuesday afternoon, but then congress did what they did to reopen," said brown. "So the next day I sent out an email question to see how many boaters I could possibly get to still participate since I canceled it and the response was overwhelming."

Despite the brief cancellation, nearly all of this year's 250 participants showed up to enjoy the food, the competition and the company.

"This is a small price to pay for us for the service that they do for our freedoms. We're able to take them fishing and give them a good day on the water; I mean we wish we could do more," said pro fishermen Jason Kisseburg. 

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