Many of us in the lower 48 spent Memorial Day weekend barbecuing and enjoying time with friends and family. In Alaska, they did that too. They just may have had to sweep a little snow off of the grill before firing it up. Many Americans are immersed in the NBA postseason, the Stanley Cup playoffs, and Major League Baseball this time of year. Alaskans are on board with all of that as well, but they’re also focusing on some events that are unique to The Last Frontier. Alaska does things a little different. That includes sports.
This past Thursday, an annual fishing tournament was held in Seward, Alaska. That may sound pretty pedestrian, until you hear the full title of the event: Armed Services Combat Fishing Tournament.
Founded back in 2006, the Combat Fishing Tournament gives thanks to our brave men and women of the Armed Services. The event is now considered the largest military appreciation fishing tournament in the country.
Fresh halibut and octopus were among the big catches for those who braved the frigid May waters.
Along with enlisted men and women, veterans also participate, as do other supporters. Alaska’s former First Gentleman Todd Palin took part this year along with J.W. Cortes, Palin’s operative from the show “Stars Earn Stripes.”
The conditions were perfect for the event according to the “First Dude.”
“It started out muggy but turned out to be a bluebird day,” said Palin. “It was an excellent day and the seas were calm.”
Cortes is a New York native, but Palin tells Breitbart Sports that the city boy handled things just fine.
“We got to fly around and look at glaciers and he caught a halibut and an octopus,” Palin said.
Quite a showing for sure.
Palin did not snare a biggie this time around but considering he went home with a 170-pounder last year, he’s still ahead of the game. “I’m just happy to be out there with the guys and thanking them for what they do to protect our freedom and this country,” Palin said. “It’s just a great event and we bring money home to Armed Services Combat Fishing.”
The fishing tournament started out quite small in the early years, but has continued to expand. Almost every charter in the Seward Fleet volunteers for the day. Organizers hope to give soldiers who have been deployed, or will deploy soon, a day of intense fishing that they probably could not afford otherwise.
“My hat is off to all the guys at Saltwater Safari and all the volunteers,” Palin said. “To see hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan vets enjoy themselves is just awesome.”
Sarah Palin issued a statement this past week saying, “We’re so honored to be involved with this. We appreciate Armed Services YMCA and all the volunteers who make this event happen. If you’d like to donate or learn more about the event, you can visit their web site here.
After participating in the Armed Services Combat Fishing Tournament, the Palins went to Indianapolis for a more traditional sporting event, the Indy 500. They later attended the Pacers game against the Miami Heat.