A new record for attendance was set Saturday when 1,618 young anglers made the trek to Roaring River State Park for Kids Fishing Day. The new attendance mark beat the existing record by 190.
"We had a very successful day with warm weather and plenty of sunshine," said Jerry Dean, hatchery manager. "A whole lot of wonderful, hardworking people got together to make it work."
In all, there were 65 volunteers on hand for the event and 31 instructors who taught 31 classes throughout the day.
Classes ranged in topic from fly tying to fish cleaning to cooking in the outdoors. According to Dean, 526 kids attended at least two classes each.
The event was also supported by four conservation agents, three park rangers and 18 park staff members representing both the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Although many of the young anglers were returning from previous years, there were still a large number who were introduced to fishing for the first time on Saturday. Park staff recorded 128 "First Fish" applications during the day-long event.
Prize giveaways and free food were another lure to young anglers. A total of 139 prizes were awarded and 1,100 hot dogs were served from the main tent.
R.C. Greninger, age 15, from Prior, Okla., caught the biggest fish of the day, reeling in a 7.26-pounder. He also claimed the prize for the biggest stringer, which weighed 15.74 pounds.
In the girls' division, Vanessa Lafferty, of Salem, Ark., won biggest fish honors with a 3.5-pound catch. The biggest stringer in the girls division was awarded to Lee Ann Maloney, 11, of Bolivar. Her stringer weighed 10.14 pounds.
Sponsors for this year's and tournament included: Missouri Department of Conservation; Department of Natural Resources; Jim Rogers and David Waugh of Roaring River Concessions; Charlie Stock with Mid West Flies; Les Jacobs Ford; Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce; Luck E Strike USA; Mark Jones with Visions Taxidermy; Russ Pendergraft with Visions of Wildlife Taxidermy Studio; Tim's Fly Shop; Cortland Fly Rods; Berkley Baits; Wal-Mart in Cassville; Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Ark.; Havenar's Fisherman's Inn; Cassville Rameys; Commerce Bank; Security Bank; and Freedom Bank.
The next Kids Fishing Day at Roaring River State Park will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19.