Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Alabama native Clay Dyer often says that if he can achieve his dream of pro angler status, everyone else can achieve their dreams too. It’s a concept that’s hard to argue since Dyer was born with no legs, no left arm and only a partial right arm — and he actually is a successful, professional fisherman.
Coming up Saturday, March 16, the sportsman ministry of New Salem Baptist Church is hosting Dyer as a guest speaker at its annual Sportsman Fish Fry.
“He’s pretty incredible; he’ll be a big inspiration,” said event coordinator and New Salem Baptist member Mike Mayfield. “The event is a big group effort, but we are really, really looking forward to it this year because of the testimony [Dyer] has.”
According to claydyer.net, Dyer began fishing when he was 5 years old and began competing in tournaments when he was 15. In 1995, he went pro and fished on the Forrest L. Wood Tour for four years. He’s appeared on television multiple times, as well as on ESPN, Fox, CNN Headline News, the Outdoor Channel, the 700 Club and others.
Mayfield, who teaches construction at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Catoosa County, said one day his students were complaining and grumbling they “couldn’t do anything.” Mayfield had them all sit down and showed them a YouTube video of Dyer.
“Then I said, ‘Now tell me you can’t,’” Mayfield laughed. “They were amazed; they couldn’t believe it.”
Other than the chance to meet Dyer, the event will include fried fish, potatoes, hushpuppies, baked beans and coleslaw. There will also be activities for kids, including a casting contest.
“I’ve heard that [Dyer] is very outgoing and he will try to shake everybody’s hand even though he doesn’t have a hand himself,” added Mayfield.
Though Mayfield said the church has had fish fries for the past 40 years, this upcoming fish fry is the second annual one born out of the church’s sportsman ministry.
“We have a sportsman Sunday school class, and it’s kind of unique because you have a few guys that would like to come to Sunday school but might not be comfortable in a couples’ class,” explained Mayfield. “We get together and go hunting, fishing or watch a ballgame. We don’t just focus on the hunting and fishing, though.”
Mayfield said he loves to be outdoors, fishing and hunting, but it doesn’t come before the commitment he made to his faith. Within the sportsman ministry, he said, outdoor lovers are able to connect and build relationships while keeping their faith a first priority and enjoying the things they love.