BELTON (October 17, 2013)—The Fishing For Freedom Tournament scheduled this weekend at Lake Belton is back on after being cancelled earlier in the week.
Rick Smith, one of the tournament organizers, said with the return of Corps of Engineers employees on Thursday the boat ramps on the lake have re-opened and the way is clear for soldiers to assemble Saturday to take part in the annual bass fishing tournament.
The event pairs a professional angler with a Purple Heart recipient, wounded warrior, active-duty soldier, or retired service member.
Smith said 57 Purple Heart recipients and 117 wounded warriors had signed up to participate.
Smith said a local restaurant has guaranteed plenty of barbecue for fishermen at the Killeen Civic Center and the prizes initially planned for raffle still will be given away.
Smith said of 65 boaters who had originally signed up to help, 60 of them were contacted by telephone early Thursday and said they would be on hand Saturday.
Organizers decided during a conference call Tuesday afternoon to cancel the eighth annual tournament because of the uncertainty surrounding the shutdown.
But with Congress’ decision Wednesday night that refunded the government, those furloughed employees went back to work and made restoration of the tournament possible, Smith said.