For the first time, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) hosted the annual National Fly Casting Competition in Bozeman, Montana. The event took place on Friday, July 26, 2019 on the campus of Montana State University during the Fly Fishers International (FFI) Expo.
The National Fly Casting Competition began at the local program level, where disabled veteran participants learned the skills and nuances of fly casting from experienced volunteers. The winners of the local (and subsequently regional) competitions advanced to compete in the finals.
A total of 27 PHWFF disabled veteran participants competed in two separate brackets for the finals in Bozeman with champions emerging from each. The competition itself presented the veterans with a diverse set of fly casting challenges focused on particular skills like accuracy and distance.
Following a fun and competitive finals, the winners of the 2nd Annual PHWFF Fly Casting Competition were announced:
Cup Bracket winners
1st Place: Lawrence Diggins – Long Beach, California Program
2nd Place: Christian Fritz – San Marcos, Texas Program
3rd Place: Mark Michaud – Saugus, Massachusetts Program
Plate Bracket winners
1st Place: Valentine Roberts – Denver, Colorado Program
2nd Place: Michael Elliott – Clarksburg, West Virginia Program
3rd Place: Joe Hiney – San Francisco, California Program
Congratulations to them and all those who participated in this great annual competition. We are already looking forward to next year!
The PHWFF Fly Casting Competition was developed alongside Fly Fishers International (FFI) in 2017 and aims to bring fly fishing and it’s proven therapeutic elements to more disabled veterans who can benefit from it. Fly casting instruction and education is one of the four core elements of the PHWFF Program alongside fly tying, fly rod building, and fly fishing outings. In 2018 alone, PHWFF programs facilitated 1,464 fly casting classes across the country and served over 8,300 disabled veteran participants.