At a US Angler’s Choice event on the Upper Chesapeake Bay Sunday, December 6, there was a serious boating accident involving two USAC members Walter Ross and Willie Barnett.  Please review the following document from USAC Region Director Dave Kilby and help in any way possible.  Thanks for your support of these guys!

**UPDATE** In addition to the help fund below, we here at Basseast will be hosting several eBay auctions to help support Willie, Walter, and both of their families during this time. We will be auctioning generous donations from  several pros from the Elite Series, FLW Tour, and other industry names.  Of course 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Walter and Willie, and we would greatly appreciate your consideration of participation in these auctions as they develop.  Keep an eye on the hompage for start dates and product descriptions for the initial auctions coming soon.  Thank you again for your support,  BassEast Staff.

“Greetings… My name is Dave Kilby, the U.S. Angler’s Choice Region 4 VP. As I am sure many of you know by now, two of our longtime Angler’s Choice members were involved in a tragic boating accident.

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While competing in the Chesapeake Fall Pro Teams tournament on the Chesapeake Bay this past Sunday Walt Ross and Willie Barrett apparently hit an underwater obstruction shortly before weigh-in. The boat stopped immediately and the hydraulic jackplate separated causing the 225 E-Tech to recoil back into the cockpit hitting both anglers. The impact sent the Ranger into a 360 degree spin and ejected Willie while the motor crushed Walt against the driver’s console.

Despite his injuries, Walt had the presence of mind to grab onto Willie and somehow locate his cell phone to call 911. He held Willie to the boat while rescue boats responded immediately. Willie sustained numerous severe lacerations to his hand, arm, and leg as well as hypothermia due to his 20 minutes in the water. He was put into a drug-induced coma and flown to ShockTrauma in Baltimore. As of Tuesday he has had surgery on his arm which included the insertion of plates and screws. He also had his hand reconstructed on Monday. As of this memo the severity of his leg injury is the main concern. At this point doctors have been unable to stop the bleeding and are considering all options. As far as we know he is still in a drug-induced coma.

Walt, the driver has a fractured sternum, fractured clavicle, broken ribs and cuts and bruises as you would expect. He remains in intensive care at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, also in Baltimore. In addition to his pain and serious injuries he is guilt-ridden regarding the condition of Willie, his best friend and longtime tournament partner.

Walt Ross and Willie Barrett will obviously out of work for a long while. In addition their spouses have been and will remain at the hospitals with their guys eliminating their household income.

In response to the literally hundreds of requests nationally we are setting up a “Help Fund” for Walt, Willie and their families. As we approach the holidays it means even more to have the opportunity to help out fellow Angler’s Choice family members at this time.

If you wish to contribute to this fund please make your check payable to Angler’s Choice DelMarVa and put “Walt and Willie Fund” on the memo line of your check and send to Dave Kilby/Angler’s Choice DelMarVa, 1713 Beechbank Way, Bel Air, MD 21015. If you wish to be put on AC address book to receive updates on their conditions and progress, please include your e-mail address or e-mail me at Upon request a receipt will be sent to you. If you are unable to send a financial contribution please offer prayers for Walt, Willie, and their families.
Thanks and I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season.