Bass tourney keeps general's memory alive
April 11, 2011
HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas-The sun was still down, but more than 60 boaters were up in anticipation on the first call to hit the waters of Stillhouse Hollow Lake and cast their first lines.
Soldiers of 41st Fires Brigade conducted the second annual Brig. Gen. Charles B. Allen Bass Fishing Memorial Tournament outside Harker Heights, Texas, April 9.
The Rail Gunners and others, along with local bass anglers, paired up to face the rough waters in honor of Allen's memory and for a chance to reel in that prize winning catch. Although the Rail Gunners and bass anglers traded the heavy rains from last year's tournament to the strong 35-mile an hour winds of this year.
"As my husband used to say, 'There's never a bad day for fishing,'" said Cindy Allen, wife of the late brigadier general. "My husband was an avid sportsman. But fishing was a way of life to him. Our whole family is honored by the 41st Fires Bde. keeping his memory alive by doing something he loved the most."
With the winds increasing the challenge to the tournament, Cliff Brown, tournament director, announced the first call at 6:50 a.m. Thirty-one boats pulled away from the pier and maneuver the lake looking for that perfect spot to fish and most importantly to honor a great leader in the 41st Fires Bde. history.
"Brig. Gen. Allen was a great leader," said Capt. Neil Ruiz, from New York City, tournament coordinator. "It's unfortunate that I never had a chance to meet him [Allen] or learn from him, but I can tell he left behind a legacy."
The winds continued to pick up and toss the boats back and forth but determined boaters continued to casts theirs lines looking for the biggest big bass Stillhouse had to offer. But the memorial tournament also made way for Soldiers who didn't have a way to fish to go fishing.
"You can't help but to think about Brig. Gen. Allen every time you throw your line out in the water," said Spc. Tamara Becker, a Venice, Fla. native. "It's great to know that his memory has brought us all out here to celebrate his name and do something we normally wouldn't get a chance to do."
With several of last year's participants in attendance this year, the top two winners did not fare as well this year. Sgt. 1st Class Lewis Decker, a military police officer with the 720th Military Police Battalion held the record for having the highest combined weight totaling more than 15 pounds. However this year, Decker and his partner were only able to catch a little more than six pounds. Brian Allen, last year's biggest largemouth bass winner with a bass weighing close to seven pounds, reeled in a bass weighing one and a half pounds.
The team of 1st Sgt. Efrain Lozano, and Sgt. Joseph Rewerts, came away as the tournament winners and the big bass winners. They were able to catch an eight pound bass and had a combined weight of 11 and a half pounds. Their names will be the second set of names inscribed on the plaque the hangs in the Charles B. Allen hall. The team claimed more than $1,200 in prize money and they will have bragging rights until next year.