Camp BullWheel is the only place in the world where an individual with a high spinal cord injury can independently cast a rod and line from a boat. This incredible feat is the result of decades of innovative engineering work. Recent grants have helped to expand our fleet of accessible boats allowing even more individuals with spinal cord injuries and their companions to experience the beauty of the Madison Valley. Our strategic alliances with other organizations that service people with varying disabilities, is paying off, as guests arrive for their camp experience. Our season grand finale found us hosting five vets from Colorado’s River Deep to several days of fishing and Camp camaraderie.

Sherene Ricci, amputee and cancer survivor with her brown trout of a lifetime!
Sherene Ricci, amputee and cancer survivor with her brown trout of a lifetime!

Camp Bullwheel has been hosting this amazing organization that gives each angler high-quality equipment and handles all the travel plans. Veterans, both active and retired participate in a variety of outdoor activities. Hats off to Bob Adwar and Chris Dundas who spearhead this organization.

Our summer was filled week after week as adventurers from Southwest Montana partook in camp activities, floating the Mighty Madison right at the forefront.

Our floats on the Madison begin at Varney Bridge, just down the hill from our camp, where the river winds thru a maze of channels abundant with eagles, moose, whitetail deer, ducks & geese, river otters, mink, beaver and very well-fed trout, as evidenced in the early season floats.

Peter Pauwels and David Poole are the dynamic duo that make camp sizzle. From innovative adaptive equipment designs to having our wheelchair fisherman perched for optimum casting, their schemes put smiles on the faces of our guests as they wind thru some of the trickier channels, seldom accessed by any other fisherman.

Founders, Peter Pauwels and Frank Bell, front middle, beaming! Larry Black, Shirley Mathews, and David Poole- did the heavy lifting. Kudos to all!
Founders, Peter Pauwels and Frank Bell, front middle, beaming! Larry Black, Shirley Mathews, and David Poole- did the heavy lifting. Kudos to all!

Sections of the Madison River are closed to fishing from the boat, well, that is, except for Camp Bullwheel. Peter’s relationship with the local game warden has opened that door, allowing our guests this amazing exclusive opportunity.

Camp will be utilized by Eagle Mount of Bozeman, Ability 360 from Phoenix, Summit of Missoula, along with our partner, Ability Montana.

A new angle to our convenient river access, Denver Audubon- Birding Without Borders is an organization of avid birders and professional ornithologists with disabilities that will be joining us mid-summer. I was introduced to Bob Roark last winter. It didn’t take long for us to cook up a collaboration that will culminate this summer as he brings his gang of avid birdwatchers to camp.

I’ve set this land and property aside for people with disabilities to enjoy in perpetuity. With the help of donors like you, we have a first-class boathouse, the envy of the valley, as, no one has more boats! With a couple units over the top of our watercraft and a half dozen cabins, well, then the dream will be realized. I invite your participation.

It is with great pride that we share this recent NBC segment that highlights Ability Days at Camp Bullwheel. Please share this wonderfully crafted video that is certain to touch hearts.


For more information about Ability Montana

June 1, 2022, we began a partnership with Ability Montana. It has melded together seamlessly as Montanans have gathered underneath the massive cottonwoods to participate in Camp activities. Ability Montana’s mission is to work towards, “empowerment, dignity, and respect for people living with disabilities in southwestern Montana.”  Camp Bullwheel is overjoyed to partner with and provide this recreational destination a stone’s throw from the Madison River at Varney Bridge.


Frank Bell, Executive Director


Learn more about what we do

Lodging Options

Ennis, Montana Chamber of Commerce

Be our guest 

We are accepting applications for the 2024 summer season.  We will process applications as they are received.


For 2024 there’s plenty to do!  We anticipate needing cooks, oarsmen, cleaners, and construction volunteers.  Come be a part of the action!


Your contributions go directly to the operations and facilities that make the Camp Bullwheel magic happen.

FYI – IRA account distributions are required at age seventy-two, though eligible at age seventy.  These required IRA distributions are tax-free to the IRA owner if directly donated to a nonprofit.  Consult with a financial professional about this mutually advantageous opportunity.