BassWestUSA - Summer, 2012, Page 32

fish because I get to spend time with my friends and socialize. I would also like to add that I enjoy beating my friends as much as they enjoy beating me.”

Most of the local anglers know Ron already. When Ron speaks or laughs, you can not miss him. Other anglers approach him like I do and say, “Hi how have you been?”, to which he answers “For an old blind man, I’m pretty good.” Ron is extremely social and likes to meet new people. He would certainly love to fish with anyone if they would take him. If someone were to walk up to Ron without know- ing him, he may not even realize Ron is blind because most of the time he looks right at you. If someone introduced himself to Ron, he might forget their name but he will never forget a voice.

Ron has in the past braided leather horse reins to support his fishing ad- diction. He has been braiding reins for 30 years and he enjoys making the extra money. Ron braid an average of 2,000 reins per year. I have seen him in action and have even tried to braid, but could not make mine look as nice as his. It is remarkable that he has continued doing the things he loves like fishing, braiding, camping, socializing and household activities despite being blind.

Ron says, “When my eyes got bad enough that I couldn’t drive 20 miles one way to work, I knew I had to do something to support my fam- ily. Then, there was a man who opened a leather shop in the little town that I lived in. I was born and raised in Burden, Kansas, a town of 550 peo- ple. There weren’t many jobs so I asked the man at the leather shop for a job. I asked if he needed anyone to build tack for horses. He said he had enough help for that but that he did need someone to braid. The man asked me if I could braid, I said no, but I can learn because I have a family to feed. That’s when I started braiding horse reins.”

When I came to Ron and asked if I could write this article about him he was thrilled. Ron said, “Sure but not for my purpose. I just hope that someone who



Summer 2012