PIERRE, S.D. – Brothers Sgt. Jason Wellnitz and Spc. Matt Wellnitz both of Milbank, S.D., won the National Guard FLW Soldier Appreciation Tournament held on Lake Oahe Saturday. The team, fishing with Chevy pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., caught three walleyes for a total of 13 pounds to take the title and bragging rights amongst their peers.
This was such a great experience,” said Sgt. Jason Wellnitz. “This is the first time I have done anything like this and it was incredible. I fish quite a bit, but this was my first time on Oahe and we learned so much from Jason.”
“It was a little rough out there today,” said Spc. Matt Wellnitz But Jason was a real pro and walked us through everything, put us on fish and we had a ton of fun. I am not a fisherman but have fished a little before now. This was my first time on Oahe as well. What a great day.”
Each of the participants in the National Guard FLW Soldier Appreciation Tournament are members of the South Dakota National Guard and most have had at least one tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. In this tournament, National Guard FLW Walleye 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 walleyes. FLW Outdoors is operating the tournaments in conjunction with the National Guard to show appreciation to our service members of the National Guard.
“This was one of those days that you wish you had during the tournament,” said Chevy pro Jason Przekurat. “We caught all our fish in the right order and there were no decisions that had to be made. We caught a ton of fish and had a lot of fun. These two are awesome and I truly appreciate what they and all the men and women of the National Guard do for our country.”
A total of 19 service men and women, 10 teams, participated in the tournament. Rounding out the teams were:
2nd: Master Sgt. Eric Jennings, Rapid City, S.D., and Sgt. Travis Tipton, Pierre, S.D. fishing with pro Kevin Carstensen, three walleyes, 11-2
3rd: Sgt. 1st Class Bob McGeehon, Rapid City, S.D., and Senior Master Sgt. Rapid City, S.D., fishing with Off! pro Chris Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., three walleyes, 10-5
4th: Pfc. Trevor McDaniel, Aberdeen, S.D., and Staff Sgt. Kurt Bies, Salem, S.D., fishing with pro Terry Filkens, Lake City, Minn., three walleyes, 10-1
5th: Chief Warrant Officer 5 (retired) Bill Waeckerle, Akaska, S.D., and Staff Sgt. Steve Hoiten, Salem, N.D., fishing with Amp/Diet Mtn. Dew pro John Balla, Bartlett, Ill., three walleyes, 9-13
6th: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matt Spaans, Rapid City, S.D., fishing with pro Marianne Husky, Shawano, Wis., three walleyes, 9-11
7Th: Sgt. Shawn Wellnitz, Milbank, S.D., and Spc. Nick Boerger, Milbank, S.D., fishing with National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., three walleyes, 9-7
8th: Staff Sgt. Matt Baumgarn, Webster, S.D., and Sgt. 1st Class Chad Haaland, Volga, S.D., fishing with pro Kevin McQuoid, Isle, Minn., three walleyes, 7-11
9th: Spc. Cody Krieger, Ft. Pierre, S.D., and 1st Sgt. Kory Urban, Huron, S.D., fishing with Eggo pro Brian Brosdahl, Max, Minn., three walleyes, 6-3
10th: Sgt. 1st Class Chancey Shrake, Pierre, S.D., and Staff Sgt. Kevin Sabers, Salem, S.D. fishing with pro Daniel Stapleton, Wentworth, S.D., three walleyes, 4-10
The Soldier Appreciation Tournament was held in conjunction with the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Lake Oahe hosted by Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce.
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