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Jim Kissane, Assistant Program Lead for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing – Greater Kansas City, shares a great article and photos from the Fly Casting Competition Regional Finals in the PHWFF Heartland Region below. Our great thanks to Jim for penning such a terrific article.

The PHWFF Fly Casting Competition is hosted in-conjunction with Fly Fishers International. PHWFF and FFI, through the casting competition and their strategic partnership, aim to bring fly fishing and it’s proven therapeutic elements to more disabled veterans who can benefit from it.

Two fly casters from the Greater Kansas City Program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing will represent the Heartland Region in the National Cast-Off July 24-27 at Bozeman, MT. Mike Davis placed first in the Regional Cast-Off, and Stephen Licata, who won last year, placed second in the event, held at Lake Quivira Country Club.

David London of the Omaha, NE, Program placed third in the Regional Cast-Off, and Chico Jimenez, also of the Omaha Program, placed fourth. The five-state Heartland Region includes Programs in Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

This marked the second year that Lake Quivira Country Club hosted the Heartland Regional Cast-Off, part of its Fore-Fish Golf Tournament celebrating the community’s golf and fishing resources. Lake Quivira’s hospitality included lunch and dinner for our group, as well as space for an information table, at no cost to our program.

The casting competition was expanded for this, the second year of the national contest. Winners at the regional level will compete in the Cup Division of the National Cast-Off, and runners-up will compete in the Plate Division. The National Finals will be part of the Fly Fishers International Fair at Bozeman.

Fly casting wasn’t the only challenge facing this year’s competitors. The Nebraska contingent had to take an alternate route because I-29, the main route between Omaha and Kansas City, was closed north of St. Joseph, MO, by floodwaters of the Missouri River.

A brief rainfall dampened the area prior to the competition, but as the course was laid out on the beautiful Lake Quivira Country Club grounds, the sprinkling had stopped and the casting began. By the time our hosts treated us to lunch, the sun began peeking out of the clouds.

The Fore-Fish event also includes a golf tournament, raffles and prizes. Our Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program received a generous donation from those proceeds.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. The Fore-Fish donation will be used to cover expenses of those outings as well as expanding our outreach to the veteran community.

“We are so grateful to the Lake Quivira community and to Jim Wise for their hospitality and generosity,” said Bob Barnett, Program Lead for the Greater Kansas City Program. “This is an ideal setting for the event, and everyone enjoyed the occasion.”

John Wright, Omaha Assistant Program Lead, agreed. “We want to thank our hosts and everyone who participated today for making the event so enjoyable. We had a real ball.”

Following the casting competition, Project Healing Waters participants and volunteers demonstrated fly tying techniques and discussed our program with Fore-Fish attendees. We also showed a video about our group (the video can be watched below)