We are pleased to announce the finalists in our Second Annual Fly Casting Competition hosted in-conjunction with Fly Fishers International (FFI). Through the fly casting competition and the strategic partnership between PHWFF and FFI, we aim to bring fly fishing and it’s proven therapeutic elements to more disabled veterans who can benefit from it.
The competition was open to disabled veterans and disabled military service personnel actively participating with PHWFF Programs and was facilitated by our volunteer-run programs around the country. PHWFF programs are divided up into geographic regions comprising over 200 programs nationwide that serve disabled veterans in their local communities. The Fly Casting Competition began at the local program level where disabled veteran participants learn the skills and nuances of the fly cast from experienced volunteer anglers during regular program meetings. For the competition, each PHWFF program selected a casting champion who proceeded to compete in their respective Regional Finals against fellow program champions. The winners and runner-ups of the Regional Competitions advance to compete in the PHWFF Casting Competition Finals during the Fly Fishers International Expo in Bozeman, Montana July 24 – 27, 2019.
A total of 27 PHWFF veteran participants will compete in the National Fly Casting Competition finals on July 24 – 27, 2019 and we are thrilled to introduce them to you below by Region:
ALASKA Rick Knight – Wasilla, AK Program | David Widby – Anchorage, AK Program
THE HEARTLAND Michael Davis – Kansas City, MO Program | David Landon – Omaha, NE Program
FLORIDA Lonnie Devore – Viera, FL Program
NEW ENGLAND Mark Michaud – Saugus, MA Program | Walter Morse – Togus, ME Program
NORTH CAROLINA Vincent Taylor – Winston-Salem, NC Program | Gregorio Robles-Velez – Fayetteville, NC Program
PENNSYLVANIA Darryl Mosher – Erie, PA Program | Ed Transue – Kunkletown, PA Program
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NORTHEAST Kenneth Hickok – Casper, WY Program
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NORTHWEST Harley Harrison – Bozeman, MT Program | Travis Wilson – Boise, ID Program
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SOUTH Bradley Kalblinger – Grand Junction, CO Program | Valentine Roberts – Denver, CO Program
SOUTH CENTRAL Christian Fritz – San Marcos, TX Program | Jason Farrar – Conroe, TX Program
SOUTHEAST Allan Sweat – Atlanta, GA Program | Heyward Wall – Charleston, SC Program
SOUTHWEST Lawrence Diggins – Long Beach, CA Program | Joe Hiney – San Francisco, CA Program
TENNESSEE VALLEY Henry Stockman – Chattanooga, TN Program | Joshua Berry – Johnson City, TN Program
VIRGINIA Aric Moss – Charlottesville, VA Program
WEST VIRGINIA Stu Mynes – Wheeling, WV Program | Michael Elliott – Clarksburg, WV Program
The National Fly Casting Competition Finals will be judged by an esteemed panel of fly casting experts;
- Larry Allen – PHWFF volunteer, Master Casting Instructor, recipient of Mel Krieger Fly Casting Instructor Award, and winner of two golds, a silver and a bronze at the World Fly Casting Championships in the Veteran Men’s Division.
- Ted Bounds – PHWFF volunteer, Casting Instructor and tournament caster.
- Bruce Richards – Master Casting Instructor, line designer for Scientific Anglers, author of Modern Flylines, and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Fly Casting Instructor Award.
- Molly Semenik – Master Casting Instructor and author of 25 Best Off-the-Beaten Path Montana Fly Fishing Streams.
- Mark Tsunawaki – Head Judge, PHWFF volunteer, and ACA National Tournament Senior Division Champion.
Following the competition, the disabled veteran participants will enjoy a special fly-casting demonstration from World Champion fly caster Maxine McCormick and her father, World Championship Bronze Medalist, Glenn McCormick. At the age of 12, Maxine became the youngest adult division World Champion in sports history, outscoring every woman and man in Trout Accuracy. In 2018, at the World Championships in England, she earned two gold medals and one silver.
The Fly Fishers International Expo will also offer a bevy of activities for all the competitors during their time in Bozeman, MT. From seminars, activities, demonstrations, authors and entertainment the Fair will serve as fun and educational opportunity for our participants to further their growth in the sport of fly fishing.
Join us in wishing all the veteran competitors the best of luck at the Finals!
By Daniel Morgan per Project Healing Waters