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Pro anglers talent on display at childrens camp
Clay Dyer greets Jeffrey Summer at first base after Jeffrey got a hit during a baseball game Friday evening at the Elsie Conde Memorial Special Needs Camp at the Field of Dreams. Dyer, a professional fisherman, was the guest speaker at the event. - photo by Tom Reed

He scoots toward the fishing pole, pulls it up by the line, props it under his chin and uses his whole body to toss the line.

Clay Dyer, a professional angler, continues to inspire as he wins fishing competitions with no legs and only part of one arm.

Dyer has finished in more than 200 bass tournaments and placed first in about 20 state bass tournaments.

He asks for no special help and tries to live "as normal a life as possible," he told 16 children and their parents Friday during the final ceremony for the Elsie Conde Memorial Special Needs camp at the Field of Dreams.

"I love it when kids come up and ask me what happened and I tell them I was born this way," he said. "I don’t use special equipment, and I never wanted someone to have to give me help or special limitations."

Dyer played sports actively as a child and entered fishing tournaments at age 10.

He talked to the children, most of who have autism, cerebral palsy or are developmentally delayed, about what helps him make it through each day.

"When people wonder how I do it, I tell them about determination — what I need to accomplish the obstacles in front of me," he said. "Adversity always tries to knock me one step back, so I take two steps forward."

Attitude, motivation, effort and using resources lead to success, he said.

"It would have been easy for me to say I need my arms, hands and feet to accomplish my dreams, but scratch that," he said. "I have a heart, mind and soul, and I can figure it out. I focused on what I had."

The children, accompanied by parents, grandparents and siblings, had a chance to play baseball as a part of a team. Each went up to bat, hit the ball and ran all the bases. They were presented with a jersey to wrap up the sports camp, and Dyer demonstrated how he tosses the fishing line and puts bait on the hook with his teeth.

"If I’ve motivated, encouraged or put a smile on someone’s face, that’s success for me," he said, explaining that his faith in God has kept him going. "Otherwise I wouldn’t be here today."