Veterans and professionals hit Lake Bartlett for fishing tournament honoring fallen Valley veteran

To honor and remember a late Valley veteran, the crew at Kokopelli Trailers enlisted the help of some of their friends at Bass Junkyz and Veterans of Foreign Wars. They all came together to put on the Ivan Nelson Fishing Classic. 

It's hard to have a bad day out on the water especially when you're competing in such a great event the Ivan Nelson Fishing Classic. 

For anyone who didn't get the pleasure of meeting Ivan, Jeff Jones, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, says he was larger than life. 

"Ivan was a great guy, he was caring, compassionate, and he was a great mentor, and really helped me when in the transition when I moved to Arizona," said Jeff Jones.

The fishing tournament held at Bartlett Lake consists of 40 teams of veterans paired with 40 professional Bass Anglers, like Ken and his partner Alex. 

"Being on the water is great for us especially when things are so tough getting back into the real-life, coming out here on the water you forget everything," said Ken Larrabee, veteran and professional Bass Angler. 

Veteran Alex Ruschner says that it's also a chance to learn something new. 

"Not really into the fishing, I've always done the water sports and it's totally different and like he said super relaxing and tranquil," said Alex Ruschner. 

Jeff says even though there are some awesome prizes that are incentivizing, today is all about making those personal connections. 

"See all the veterans and anglers having fun sharing stories, sharing the teaching lessons of the fishing and things like that, it's really a wonderful sight," said Jones. 

The first-place prize is a fishing trip to San Diego.