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Thu., Oct. 8
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NFL players to be part of Hometown Heroes Muskie Challenge


BRASHER FALLS - Two former National Football League players will be on hand for the Sept. 8 Hometown Heroes Muskie Challenge on the St. Regis River.

FISHCAP Coordinator Donald R. Meissner said Thursday that he had been in contact with Sam Kennedy, who played linebacker and special teams for the 1988 Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers, and Eddie Kidd, who played for the Oakland Raiders. Both have said they’ll be a part of the event.

“They’re coming in from California to be here. They really want to be here. They want to play football with the kids, like flag football or touch football,” Mr. Meissner told members of a committee that has been coordinating activities for the Hometown Heroes Muskie Challenge.

He said both players are behind the Wounded Warriors Project and want to work together on activities like the muskie challenge.

“They’re really happy to be coming here,” Mr. Meissner said.

The visit by the football players would be one of a number of activities planned for the day, which is geared toward linking up soldiers from Fort Drum with local volunteers for a day of catch and release muskie fishing on the St. Regis River.

Organizers plan to start the day with registration and breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. at the Winthrop American Legion for the soldiers and volunteers who are fishing. The breakfast, which will continue until 9 a.m. for the general public, would be free for the military.

Fishing in boats or from the shore of the St. Regis River in Brasher and Deer River is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event features two-man teams, one Fort Drum “hero” and one local volunteer fishing together.

Fishing for children, meanwhile, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on the Locke Pond at the Riverside Campground.

Lunch will be provided by the Lion’s Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and children will be able to enjoy a bounce house and water slide from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organizers hope to have a craft fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they also plan to have face painting, wine tasting from 1 to 4 p.m. at Spirits of Brasher, a volleyball tournament, and bands and a barbecue at the Riverview Restaurant. The bands include Big Poppa & the Escape Key, Sudden Impact, Oshier Country, Backdraft, Outta the Blue Band and Jeff Stein & the Drifters.

Mr. Meissner said another idea they’re still working on is horse-drawn covered wagon trips in the Brasher State Forest for families and children.

“The only problem is will the deer flies be gone in September?” he wondered.

The FISHCAP coordinator said the pieces are coming together with Fort Drum. They’ve secured a trailer, two kayaks and 10 canoes and are lining up more canoes from other sources.

“There’s going to be plenty,” he said.

They’re also soliciting volunteers to go out on the river with the soldiers for a day of muskie fishing. He emphasized that volunteers don’t have to be expert anglers, just someone who wants to take part in the event.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Joey Reome at 389-4477.

As the planning continues for the September event, Mr. Meissner said one of the keys to its success will be media coverage. He’s scheduled to appear this morning on WWNY Channel 7 to talk about a new television show he’ll be doing, and he plans to give a plug for the Hometown Heroes Muskie Challenge.

“It’ll be a great way to lead into this,” he said. “I want personally to make this the biggest thing we’ve done. I want you guys to believe. This is only the beginning.”

Organizers said they are also appreciative of the financial support they’ve received to make the day a reality.

VFW Post 7326 Commander LeRoy Hulse and members Fred Hulse, Stan Crump, Earl Hastings, Jim Sauve, Don McKeel and Judy Hilbig, for instance, voted to donate $1,000 toward the event, they said. The money is being used for expenses such as the bounce house, water slide, food and advertising.

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