Two Lyon County bowfishing tournaments have combined to honor service and sacrifice.
The third annual Hero Shoot and the first-ever Bowfishing with the Blue tournaments are scheduled for June 27 on Lake Barkley. Both shoots will start at Lee S. Jones Park, where veterans, first-responders and police will pair with seasoned bowfishers to compete for prizes.
“The Lakes are a Mecca for bowfishing,” said Hero Shoot organizer Patrick Russell, who is co-founder and CEO of Resiliency Outreach, an organization that helps veterans, law enforcement and their families. “It should be a real fun night.”
There are plenty of spots open for the dual tournament, said Russell. The tournaments and fishermen provide everything for the veterans and law enforcement officers participating in the tournament. Russell said sign-ups will be taken through 6 p.m. the night of the shoot or until available equipment runs out.
“You just show up and have fun,” read a Facebook post with Bowfishing for the Blue.
There will be food, prizes and giveaways. Disposal of the carp and gar, the two species that qualify for weigh-ins, will be provided by a private vendor that pays 8 cents per pound. That money can be collected by the teams or donated to a designated charity.
The winning teams in the tournament will be determined by the collective weight of qualifying fish harvested on the night.
Bowfishing has grown in popularity in the last few years. Russell said he had not been involved until about five years ago, when the bowfishing community reached out to him in the midst of his 14-year career in the U.S. Army.
“It was a big deal for me in my life,” said Russell, who lives in Russellville. “It’s the first thing anyone did for me because of my service. I made a lot of new friends.”
That inspired him to found Resiliency Outreach to help fellow brothers-in-arms who are in need of support. The Hero Shoot will reach out to Fort Campbell soldiers and their families as well as first responders.
The Bowfishing for the Blue tournament — organized by Andy Cardwell, Chuck Belmore and Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White — focuses on law enforcement.
In fact, Russell said tournament proceeds will benefit the family of Brent Scrimshire, at Hot Springs, Arkansas, policeman who was shot and killed in the line of duty in March.
“This is an event that we are coordinating across the country,” said White in a recent Facebook post. “It is a chance to thank our law enforcement and show them that we support them.”
More information on the tournaments can be found on Facebook by searching for “Bowfishing with the Blue” or “Resiliency Outreach, Inc.” Russell can be reached at 270-498-4255.