Tournament raises funds for veterans

Tom Gunn, left, and grandson Ryan Dickson won the tournament with a weight of 17.62 pounds. "He showed me how to win a tournament," Gunn said. "I was proud just to be in the boat."

SMITHVILLE — A record number of anglers came out to participate in the Smithville Bassmasters eighth annual Daniel Palmer Memorial Classic Open Buddy Bass Tournament at Smithville Lake.

"It's great that we have this kind of support," Tournament Director Tom Carlin said. "This tournament just keeps growing and growing, and that's awesome."

This event is held in memory of Daniel Palmer, an Army specialist and son of Former Club President John Shields. Funds help benefit veterans getting outdoors.

This year, Ryan Dickson and his grandfather, Tom Gunn, teamed up to bring in the tournament's highest weight, five-fish limit of bass weighing 17.62 pounds, which also included the event's biggest bass of 5.97 pounds. The team took home almost $700 in cash and prizes.

"(It was) my first time on Smithville with my grandson," Gunn said. "He showed me how to win a tournament. I was proud to just be in the boat. It's a great lake and a great event."

Bob Kitterman and Andy Bissett claimed second place with a total of 17.61 pounds, one hundredth of a pound from the win.

Third place was clutched by Don Heiser and Gary Martin with a weight of 14.58 pounds.

At the end of the event, more than $1,500 was raised for the Fishing for Freedom Foundation. The money raised will cover expenses for Fishing for Freedoms's annual tournament. Each year, the organization hosts an all-expense paid bass tournament for returning veterans.

The event will be held again next September at Smithville Lake.

"We have plans for more prizes and bigger payouts for next year's tournament," Club Treasurer Marshall Brown said. "We hope to raise more money at next year's event."

For more information about Smithville Bassmasters, visit or search "Smithville Bassmasters" on Facebook. For more information about Fishing for Freedom Foundation, visit

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