We want to thank all of our Sponsor's, community donations and everyone that believes in us for helping in getting our trailer done. Thank you Trophy House in White Hall Arkansas for doing such a fantastic job.
In years past at our other fishing derbies , we had Challenged Outdoorsmen accompany us to just have to sit back and watch other people fish because of their lack of muscle strength ( by no fault of their own) or a disability allowing them not to be able to reel a fish in. This hasn't set well with us so we started searching the internet for a remedy to this problem. In our searching we came across a company that had exactly what we needed. Fishing Abilities is a company started by a man that had disabilities of his own making it to where he couldn't do the one thing he loved best. Fishing. So he created a fishing reel that would allow him and others with challenges to get back out there fishing again.
The Freedom Fisher reel is one outstanding piece of equipment with a lot of thought put into it. It allows a person that couldn't be for reel in a fish to now reel in his catch of the day with his own strength. With the push of a joy stick it starts the reel retrieving the fish. It has different speed options to suit your individual needs. This is our first one but I am sure there will be more in our future as needed. Thank you Fishing Abilities.
Our COA Chapter kicked off its first year with a fundraising event in the Month of January. Cat Fishing For A Cause was a great success. On a very cold and gloomy day, we raised over 800.00 and received some good exposure through local news stations and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Our very first event for our disabled sportsman happened in the month of April. Our Fishing Derby in Jefferson County had twenty-two sportsman participate and everyone left with a brand new rod and reel combo thanks to the Arkansas Game And Fish Commission.
The next event was a Hike & Picnic in June at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Lunch was served and our participants got some good exercise on their hike and playing in the playground. One of our sponsors, Donald Sims Photography, came all the way from Tennessee to be the with us.
In August, we had a fundraiser event in White Hall at the United Pentecostal Church on Sheridan Road. Dinner & Auction raised money for our chapter and all of our volunteers did an awesome job. Tyson donated chicken and one of our sponsors, Feed For Less-Owner, Carrol Shearer, Jr,. cooked some great BBQ. Brookshire's was a great help to us donating for our dinner .
October was set for our Fun Day event at the Girl Scout Camp in Sulphur Springs. We had over 60 participants show up and a good time was had by all. Some fished and some played games in the dinning room while it rained outside. We finished the day around a camp fire and some great music by singer song writer Cheyenne Nicole .
The final event of 2013 was our deer hunt in November. Three applicants were chosen to hunt at Tar Camp Creek Land & Timber, LLC on the Arkansas River in Redfield. The weather didn't cooperate with our hunters but they all went home with fresh deer meat and a new outfit of camouflage hunting cloths.
To sum It all up, 2013 was a great first year for the COA Arkansas Chapter. It was very rewarding for all of our participants and volunteers alike. Thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors and volunteers for a successful first year. We look forward to working with you in the near future.