Now in its 11th year, the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing National Fly Rod Building Competition focused on expanding the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veteran participants by giving them the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing.  Like years past, the Fly Rod Building Program had a fun competition component which gave participants the chance to win prizes for their rod building abilities.  We are pleased to announce that the results are in!

This year, a record-setting number of PHWFF disabled veteran participants and programs took part with 1125 disabled veteran participants from 135 PHWFF Programs spread across all of our 20 geographic regions participating!  That is the largest number ever to be enrolled in this annual program. The quality of work submitted to the competition was outstanding!

And now, we are pleased to introduce the winners of the 11th Annual PHWFF Fly Rod Building Program and Competition to you:


Category 1: Beginners

This category is for PHWFF participants new to fly rod building who have not built a fly rod before.

1st Place -Dean Millard-Denver, Colorado Program

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2nd Place-David Gemmell-Viera, Florida Program

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3rd Place-Steven Eichhorn-Anchorage, Alaska Program

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Category 2: Intermediate

This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 2nd or 3rd fly rod. 

1st Place-Billy Dailey-Portland, Oregon Program

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2nd Place-Janice Truong-Denver, Colorado Program

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3rd Place -Shawn Denny-Spokane, Washington Program

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Category 3: Advanced

This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 4th fly rod or more.

1st Place -Gary Herber-Atlanta, Georgia Program

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2nd Place -Don Lee-Long Beach, California Program

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3rd Place -David Headley- Conroe, Texas Program

Judges note: This is probably the most creative rod we’ve seen in a while.  David qualified for Category 1 but entered his rod in the Category 3 class. Dubbed “The Stogie Stick” this rod deserves an honorable mention for the creativity that went into his build.

Click here for special story on how this incredibly creative rod was conceived and built

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The Rod Building Program and Competition wouldn’t be possible without all those volunteers who contribute their time, talents, and expertise to provide a meaningful and therapeutic experience for our Nation’s disabled veterans and the tremendous support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation and an NFL-BWF partnership to provide a “Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community.”

This past year PHWFF and Pacific Bay International joined forces to heighten the positive benefits disabled veterans gain from this great activity. Through this exciting new partnership, standard fly rod blanks and component kits purchased from PacBay were used and training opportunities were offered to volunteers.  The aim of the training session was to strengthen the development of fly rod instructors inside of the PHWFF volunteer ranks. The partnership with PacBay will continue building and expanding this ever popular annual program.