HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Staff Sgt. Lance Hamilton of Donaldson, Ark., and Spc. Joshua Smallwood of Hot Springs, Ark., won the National Guard FLW Soldier Appreciation Tournament held on Lake Hamilton Saturday. The team, fishing with Snickers Peanut Butter Squared pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., caught three bass for a total of 10 pounds to take the title and bragging rights amongst their peers.
“Chris is the man,” said Staff Sgt. Hamilton. “He put us on some fish alright. Without him there is no way we would have caught 10 pounds. I have fished in some local tournaments, but what we learned from Chris today was amazing, his presentation and what he does on the water are really something to see and learn.”
“I have fished for fun before but this was my first tournament,” said Spc. Smallwood. “This was just a great experience and I learned so much from Chris, it was awesome.”
Each of the participants in the National Guard FLW Soldier Appreciation Tournament are members of the Arkansas National Guard and most have had at least one tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. In this tournament, Walmart FLW Tour pro anglers took teams of two, which consist of members of the National Guard, fishing to compete amongst their peers. Each team was allowed to bring in three bass. FLW Outdoors is operating the tournaments in conjunction with the National Guard to show appreciation to our service members of the National Guard.
“It was a pleasure to take these guys out, I can’t thank them enough for what they do for our country,” said Snickers Peanut Butter Squared pro Baumgardner. “We were fishing real shallow, less than three feet, using topwater and buzzbaits along flat banks. The plan was to cover a lot of water and that is what we did, we just kept moving.
“This was truly a great experience for all of us,” added Baumgardner.
A total of 15 service men and women, 8 teams, participated in the tournament. Rounding out the teams were:
2nd: Spc. Brady Zweifel, Vilona, Ark., and Sgt. Alec Baldwin, Little Rock, Ark., fishing with Walmart FLW pro Kevin Snider, Elizabethtown, Ky., three bass, 6-8
3rd: Sgt. 1st Class Mike Fountain, Hot Springs, Ark., and Kyle Lowdermilk, Greenwood, Ark., fishing with National Guard pro Jonathan Newton, Rogersville, Ala., three bass, 4-8
4th: Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Carrell, Little Rock, Ark., and Sgt. Jon Paulovich, with National Guard pro Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., two bass, 3-5
5th: Staff Sgt. Corey Atkins, Warren, Ark., Spc. Stephen Wright, Arkadelphia, Ark., fishing with National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., one bass, 2-10
6th: Sgt. Kaede Wilson, Bryant, Ark., and Sgt. Rebecca Ingram, North Little Rock, Ark., fishing with FLW Outdoors’ Corey Stigen, Rogers, Minn., one bass, 1-15
7th: Chief Warrant Officer Cornelius Charles, Sherwood, Ark., and Staff Sgt. Eric McNulty, Greenbrier, Ark., with National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., one wallee, 1-8
8th: Staff Sgt. Scott Isakson, Fort Smith, Ark.., and Master Sgt. Billy Moody, Conway, Ark., fishing with National Guard pro CSM Doc McGhee, Blackstone, Va., one bass, 1-6
The Soldier Appreciation Tournament was held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita and hosted by Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/NationalGuardFLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.