By Lyle Johnson
24 Veteran Heroes from seven different states that included our own state of Louisiana along with Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama made their way to “The Boot” in Venice, La. September 21st thru the 23rd to attend the Annual Lucky Rogers Fishing Rodeo.
Venice Marina was the host location and our veterans and volunteers were treated to dinner that included boiled shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes sponsored by Louisiana Seafood Commission courtesy of our newly re-elected Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser that supplied all the seafood.
The group got all checked-in, gave out room assignments and conducted the captains meeting to link up the veteran anglers with their captains in anticipation of the fishing that would take place the next morning.
Friday morning everybody woke to the aroma of breakfast burritos prepared by Mr. Lionel Stein and his Stein Top Notch Catering. After getting their bellies full, the angler hit the waters and the boats launched at first light. After a full and successful day of fishing, the first day weigh in was from 3-5pm.
After the day 1 weigh-in Friday night WWH gave thank you plaques to Jimmy Jeansonne (captain Venice/Toledo Bend and personal fishing trips for vets), Tank Foret (hosting Grand Isle Offshore Rodeo), Westside Bassmaster (hosting Veterans Bass Tournament and Sponsoring Toledo Bend Bass Tournament). After the day 1 festivities the group was treated to Steak and twice baked potatoes provided by Mr. Lionel Stein and his Stein Top Notch Catering.
On Saturday morning the gang was blessed with a breakfast of steak and eggs once again provided by Lionel Stein. After another full day of fishing by the Veterans and their captains the scales were open from 2-4 pm. Team after team brought lots of fish to weigh in.
After all the fish were weighed, this was the final results. Taking the Red snapper division was Carl Boast with 5.82; 2nd was David Booth with 5.56 and taking 3rd was Brett Herrington with 5.15. White trout 1st place-Mike Gary .57; 2nd place- Roberto Martinez .47; 3rd place- Reginald Sterling .40. Speckled trout 1st place-Richard Patterson 1.82; 2nd place- Mike Collins 1.32. Rat red 1st place- Jaye Townsend 6.75; 2nd place- Michael Griffin 6.03; 3rd place- Chad Dupree 5.73. Black Drum 1st place- Darryl Lewis 34.48; 2nd place- Josh Droddy 30.54; 3rd place- Don McCascle 16.57. Flounder 1st place- Johnny Graves 2.64; 2nd place- Roland Asuncion 2.26. Sheepshead 1st place- Jeff Villemarette 3.88; 2nd place- Stephen Codina 2.04; Miscellaneous 1st place- Reginald Sterling, Jack Crevalle 2.77; 2nd place- Dwight Blackman Bass 2.18.
The Down the Road Gang headed by Jimmy McGuire was honored with a special presentation for the many years of dedicating their cooking team to the tournament. Then awards for given to the Veteran winning in each fishing category. Then each veteran had their name randomly picked and they had the opportunity to choose a door prize ranging from hunting or fishing trips, griddles, rifle scope and range finder combo, food sealers with fishing rod, 65-inch televisions etc.
Each veteran went home with an ice chest of fish for all their efforts. WWH would like to give special thanks to all the sponsors of this event. Venice Marina not only hosted our group but provided discounted rooms, bait, ice, use of their pavilion and around the clock services. The Louisiana Seafood Commission for the seafood night. Operation Hat Trick and Optimal for their financial assistance and Mr. Lionel Stein and his Stein Top Notch Catering for all the cooking.
Until next time, have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!!