Ivan Nelson Veterans Fishing Classic 2019


Ivan Nelson Veterans Fishing Classic 2019 – Bartlett Lake Marina August 25th

The Time Is Here

You Don’t Want To Miss This One
60 Boats & 60 Veterans

Saturday August 24, 2019
South Cove Open 1 PM For Participant Overnight Camping & Parking – Just A Short Walk To Main Ramp

Bartlett Lake Restaurant “The Last Stop” Open Until 8 PM

Sunday August 25, 2019
Boats Launch Approximately 5:30 AM From Main Ramp
(You will need a Tonto Parking Pass to park here.)
Just Look For Bass Junkyz

There will be lots of activity here Sunday Morning.

Bring A Smile Media Is Expected

Don McDowell Radio Show Broadcast Live 7 – 9 AM

Weigh-In Begins 11 AM At Main Ramp

Coast Guard Auxiliary Band

Poston Butte AFJROTC Cadets

Award Ceremony And Lunch Follow Weigh-In

Hale’s Marine Provided A Service Boat

Display Booths At Main (Restaurant) Parking Area
Arizona Boating & Watersports
Arizona Color Wrap
Kokopelli Trailers
VFW Information Trailer


Pairing Dinner – August 17, 2019

Whether you are participating in the event or not please visit us at Bartlett Lake.  The scenery is beautiful, the restaurant is great and of course they have boats available for your enjoyment.



Inspired by Uriah Owsley – Kokopelli Trailers.

Kokopelli – Your Home Town Trailer Manufacturer



Made Possible by Don McDowell and all of our wonderful sponsors.  Please see the great list below.  Don’s knowledge and years of experience have made it possible for him to select the great group of people below for their experience and expertise in putting together this great event.

These people have given generously of their time, money and resources to make this event a truly memorable fishing experience for anglers and veterans alike.

What Is ‘Fish-Net Working’?

It’s A Community Coming Together To Fish And Remember

Veterans, pro anglers, businesses, and supporters join in honoring the late Ivan Nelson.

By Carol L. Allen and Event Supporters

Editor’s Note: The information in this article reflects what is available at press time. Please visit Ivan Nelson Veterans Fishing Classic for updated, current information.

“Networking” is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. In this case, I call it “fish-net working”.

Let me tell you why.

It all began with a fine man named Ivan Nelson. He served on the USS Patrick Henry submarine during the Viet Nam Conflict. Later, stateside, Ivan was an eight-year Past  Commander of the American Legion, Scottsdale Post 115; an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Scottsdale Elks, and a supporter of the Disabled American  Veterans (DAV).

And, he loved to fish!

In fact, he and his wife Carol had been planning a three-month-plus vacation in their RV to many of the cool lakes in the Southwest first, then traveling on to do some fishing in the Northwest.

The couple made it as far as Woods Canyon Lake, Ariz. Then, suddenly, on June 9, 2019, Ivan died. This sad and traumatic turn of events was the beginning of this story. (A side note here is that there were 15 campers at the lake who came immediately to help Carol, and one even gave her a new, large American flag to cover her husband as he was carried away.)

There was a beautiful and significant memorial service for Ivan at the Scottsdale Elks, and at that life celebration on June 29, the Commander of VFW Post 3513 Jeff Jones and the Vice President of their Auxiliary Jim Allen made an announcement, one that surely would have made Ivan very happy: In his honor, the Ivan Nelson Veterans Fishing Classic would be planned.

The focus will be on pairing pro and experienced bass anglers with both non-ambulatory and ambulatory veterans to give them the opportunity to enjoy some time on the water and to fish in a competition.

Which brings us to now and the fish-net working that has been incredible. In addition to the VFW and Kokopelli Trailers, Don McDowell Outdoors (formerly Shake, Rattle, and Troll radio) has enlisted many in the bass-fishing community to help with the event. Joining them are the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-11,  the Junior Air Force ROTC AZ-201717 cadets from San Tan Valley, Ariz., and other sponsors and supporters listed below.




In addition to the planners, supporters, sponsors, pro anglers and veterans, two key participants are Carol Nelson, Ivan’s wife, who will present the winning trophy,  and Tom Cole of the VFW Post 3513, who will be the event chaplain. In addition, a vital person to this event is Uriah Owsley and Matt Ringer, owners of Kokopelli Trailers, who are donating a custom-built bass-boat trailer for the raffle that will support the San Diego tuna-fishing prizes.


The inaugural Ivan Nelson Fishing Classic will be on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 with launching at 4 a.m. and fishing from 5 a.m.-10 a.m at Bartlett Lake. A lunch will follow.


The fishing event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 25, and the Pairing Dinner (for the vets and the pro anglers) will be at VFW Post 3513 on Saturday, Aug. 17. (It is highly recommended that those who commit to fish commit also to the Pairing Dinner as the veterans and their pro anglers will be teamed up at that time.)


The event venue will be on Bartlett  Lake, Ariz.

(Many thanks to the Church family for always being ready to help with a good cause.)


Ivan Nelson was a staunch supporter of our country and our veterans.  We are proud to be able to continue to support his memory with this fishing tournament for many years to come.  Hence this will be the Ivan Nelson Veterans Fishing Classic. The main purpose of this event will be to provide ambulatory and non-ambulatory veterans without boats a chance to spend a day on the water, fishing in a real tournament. Of course, all are expected to have a good time as well.


Veterans, whether seasoned fishermen/women or complete amateurs, will be paired with professional anglers and shown the tips and tricks of being a productive angler. Fishing gear and tackle will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will provide a one-day pass for the veterans. This will be a no-cost event and all veterans are welcome.

The tournament will consist of a 5 a.m. start and 10 a.m. finish. Each team will catch five fish (13-inch minimum) with a limit of two from the pro angler (two-fish rule for pros) and three from the veteran (three-fish rule for vets). (Note: At press time, event rules are still being worked out and will be posted in the near future.) The top five teams will receive an additional paid fishing excursion based out of San Diego, Calif., on the Malahani, in September.



Adventure idiaz


A & M Graphics



Airtime Cooling and Heating
100 BPS Crankbaits
From Bass Pro Shops


Arizona Boating & Watersports






Arizona Color Wrap


Arizona Game & Fish Department





Arizona High School Bass Nation




Arizona Custom Baits

Come see beautiful Arizona.


Bartlett Lake Marina – Bryan Church

The Church family has gone above and beyond to make their great facilities available to this event.  They are staunch supporters of our veterans.


Bass Junkyz – Tim Price

Can’t say enough good about Tim Price.  He and his organization are bringing years of experience and expertise to this event.  Thank you.




Boomstick Custom Baits
Congratulations to our Pro-staffer Max Hernandez for locking down Arizona’s T.B.F. Angler of the Year and securing a spot on the State Team with a 4th place finish at Lake Martinez! Great job Max we are super proud to be helping you on your journey.
Casa Veterans Administration


Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-11
Tom Judd – Deptartment Commander
Mark Short – Department Surgeon

Carol and I have had the privlilege of working with Flotilla 10-11 for all the years we have been in



Pro Fisherman
Marc brings years of knowledge and expertise to this event.  Thank you Marc for everything you do and have done for fishing over the years.
Marc brought us the two-fish rule.  The pro catches two fish and then it is up to the veteran to catch the other three fish.


Desert Sportsmen


Daiichi Hooks
Elusions Escape Rooms



Florida Boating & Watersports
Jim & Carol Allen


BBQ For The Masses
Thanks to George Frasher we are going to have a feast at the “pairing” dinner.  Thank you George.
Check out George’s other restaurant (Mrs. Chicken)at 4011 North 32nd street.
Ed Hale will providing a service boat to keep all up and running on the day of the event.
Have known Ed for many years now.  Great guy.  If you have a broken boat or RV get in touch with Ed.  You’ll be glad you did.
 Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers
Junior ROTC, San Tan Valley, AZ
Master Sergeant Debbie Melton


Kokopelli Trailers – Uriah Owsley
Contributions – New Custom Built Bass Boat Trailer & Vintage Bass Boat
Uriah.  Can’t thank you enough.  It was your inspiration that began this great event.
Kokopelli Trailers
Your Hometown Trailer Manufacturer
Malihini Sportfishing – San Diego

Mustang Survival





Rim Country Custom Rods





Spirit Electronics


Starfire Golf Club


 Vet Tix
The VFW is a Congressionally Chartered non-profit veterans organization. It’s Post members are Veterans of Foreign Wars that take pride in supporting fellow veterans in need and their families. Our motto is “We Honor the Dead by Serving the Living.” We are also actively involved in improving our community and direct involvement always has been and will continue to be a VFW priority.
VFW State
Tom Judd – Deptartment Commander
Mark Short – Department Surgeon


VFW District – Joe Dora – District Commander and Commander Post 720






VFW 3513 – Jeff Jones, Commander – Tom Kendra, Quartermaster

Jeff and Tom have spent countless hours bringing a group of veterans together for this event.  Thank you both for all you do.


VFW  3513 Auxiliary

Dorothy Callaway – President

Jim Allen – Senior Vice-President

Carol Allen – Guard
Thank you to the Auxiliary for providing assistance with all of the Thursday planning meeting for the event as well as the “pairing’ dinner, and, some assistance with the lunch following the event.


Western Outdoor Times


Wide World Of Maps
The tournament will take place at Bartlett Lake August 25, 2019.

This information was brought to you by Arizona Boating & Watersports.


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