News: Finding freedom outdoors while fishing for fun
Story by Spc. Samuel Northrup
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Fort Hood Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program held a bass fishing tournament April 6 at Nolan Lake.
“This is our first BOSS Bass fishing tournament,” said Sgt. Sonya Legaspi, the Fort Hood BOSS president. “I know we have a lot of soldiers who like to fish. We want to do events that not only single soldiers can do as far as amusement parks, but something we can do in the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.”
Twenty-eight participants competed for various prizes, which included fishing reels, fishing lures, gift cards and T-shirts. There were two placement categories: general-adult and parent-child.
The rules of the tournament were very simple.
“You cannot enter the water,” said Pfc. Demontray Williams, a mechanic with Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps. “Entering the water is an automatic disqualification.”
“Whoever has the two fish that weigh the most combined wins first place,” Legaspi said. “We will go all the way to fifth place in the general-adult category.”
According to Luis Rios, the Fort Hood BOSS adviser, the fishing tournament had prizes for the top three weights in a parent-child category.
“April is the Month of the Military Child,” Rios said. “We are trying to accommodate families by getting children involved with BOSS events. We need to remember that some of the single Soldiers are single parents, as well.”
“We have about four kids participating in the tournament,” Rios said. “Even if the children don’t get into the top three, they will still walk away with a kid’s fishing rod.”
The event was not just about competition, as many came to the tournament for other reasons.
“It’s a good way to relax, especially when you have had a rough week,” said Sgt. Matthew Rivera, a combat engineer with 510th Clearance Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. “You get to have that time to yourself and gather your thoughts. If you are struggling with something, fishing allows you to think it through.”
For Rivera, fishing can bring back memories.
“Fishing can allow you to think about all the good times,” Rivera said. “My memories are of my father. He was like me, he could fish everyday and I kind of inherited that from him. I have a lot of memories from when I was a child, and even as an adult, fishing with him.”
As the tournament came to an end, Barry Dahlquist, a retired Army firefighter, was pronounced the first place winner in the general-adult category.
“This is the first fishing tournament I have ever been in,” Dahlquist said. “I didn’t expect to win at all.
“I just came out to have fun. I heard this was a hard lake to fish. It’s a surprise to me. The good Lord keeps me healthy and able to participate in this kind of stuff.”