Organizers are gearing up for the second annual Rainbows for Veterans event, set for 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.
The event is hosted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, the Friends of the Neosho Fish Hatchery organization and Sugar Creek Gobblers, the McDonald County chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Dan Fuller, president of the Sugar Creek Gobblers, said the event was a way to thank veterans for their service.
"No registration is required, all they need to do is bring a military ID," he said. "We will furnish their fishing equipment, their bait and we will also provide lunch."
The free event includes fishing, food, and a tribute to the men and women who have served our county.
It is recommended that participants arrive a minimum of 30 minutes early to park, register, and checkout the supplied fishing equipment and bait.
"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service appreciates our past and current military personnel who protect our freedom," said hatchery manager Dave Hendrix.
Participants will be allowed to catch and keep a limit of four rainbow trout.
"We will clean them, bag them and ice them for them to take home," Fuller said. "I think last year, we cleaned somewhere between 800-900 fish."
Organizers deemed last year's event a huge success, and Fuller noted there were between 325-350 people at the derby.
"It is a real exciting day for the veterans," he said. "Last year, we had so many comments on how they enjoyed it, emails and letters, they enjoyed the camaraderie."
Fuller said he is pleased to see the veterans and current military personnel come out for this.
"We are so glad to see people out and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the Neosho National Fish Hatchery," he said.
For more information, please contact the Neosho National Fish Hatchery at 451-0554.