Kids Fishing Day sets new attendance record

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Birds of prey on display Democrat Photo Dozens of families attended the World Bird Sanctuary's Raptor Awareness Program, which was held at the Roaring River State Park Amphitheater on Aug. 14. Those attending the program had the opportunity to see a Harris Hawk, a Red-Tailed Hawk, a Hooded Vulture, a Great Horned Owl, a Screech Owl and a Barn Owl. World Bird Sanctuary naturalists Mike Zeloski and Hank Heberer allowed several of the birds fly over the crowd during the program. Many of the families who attended the special program participated in the park's annual fall Kids' Fishing Day on Saturday. In the photo above, Heberer is shown holding a Peregrine Falcon named Millennium.

On Saturday, Roaring River State Park's Back-to-School Kids' Fishing Day set a new record for the annual fall event and topped the attendance recorded at this year's spring Kids' Day.

"We had 1,414 kids participate in the fall Kids' Fishing Day," said Jerry Dean, hatchery manager. "It went really well. We had a lot of kids catch big fish and lots and lots of prizes to give away. We gave away prizes for over two hours at the end of the day. We had some nice ones too."

Young anglers who took part in the fall event received a free trout fishing tag and an assortment of prizes, including free conservation magazines.

"The Roaring River Parks Alliance provided 1,000 free snowcones during the event," said Dean. "They went really fast too. The organization did a great job."

Dale Havenar, owner of Fisherman's Inn, donated ice for the snowcones and True Value Hardware in Cassville discounted other supplies used to make the cool treats.

Park employees snapped photos of youngsters who landed their first fish or reeled in a fish that weighed more than 1.75 pounds. First Fish applications were completed by 17 young anglers.

Trophies were awarded to the boy and girl who landed the biggest fish and weighed in the heaviest stringers.

Luke Nauman, of Wildwood, won the largest fish competition in the boys' division with a 11.8-pound catch. Nauman also won the boys' division largest stringer contest with a 29.28-pound stringer.

Lydia Poindexter, of Carthage, won the largest fish competition in the girls' division with a 7.06-pound trout. Lexi Yockey, of Cassville, won the largest stringer contest in the girls' division with 9.94 pounds of fish.

Youngsters who landed fish that weighed over 3 pounds were entered into a drawing for a free taxidermy mount. The free mounts were awarded to Nauman and River Gosvener, of Huntsville, Ark.

In addition to a free day of trout fishing, youngsters had the opportunity to participate in over 30 different outdoor education classes. Over 425 kids attended at least two classes and were rewarded with a free fishing tag for their next visit to the park.

Kids who attended more than two classes had the opportunity to enter a drawing for larger prizes. Park staff members had the opportunity to give away 137 prizes, including a 20-inch flat screen TV, an XBox, a Guitar Hero game, digital cameras, bicycles and rods and reels.

Fly rods and reels were also awarded to five youngsters who entered a drawing by attending at least one fly fishing class.

Jack Dunham, of Jasper, and Madison Grantham, of Nixa, won fly fishing rods donated by David Waugh. Charlie Stock, of Midwest Flies, donated fly fishing rods and reels that were won by Ashley Johnson, of Verona, and John Gray, of Republic.

Kennadie Stucki, of Loule, Ark., and Melody Reeves, of Centerton, Ark., won fly rods and reels donated by the MAKO Fly Fishing Club. The club also donated fly tying kits, which were won by Alyssa Bayard, of Drexel, and Chase Wilscam, of Joplin.

Fishing lessons Democrat Photo Roaring River State Park's fall Kids Fishing Day, which was held on Aug. 15, offered over 30 outdoor education classes. Youngsters who attended at least two of the educational sessions received a free trout fishing tag for their next visit to the park. In the photo above, volunteer Jerry Dudley teaches several young anglers how to tie their own jigs.

An Alpine Bow was donated by Chris Berry, a representative of Alpine Bows who taught archery classes during the kids' fishing event. Amelia Katulski, of Springfield, was the lucky winner who took home the bow.

Over 85 volunteers, including members of the Roaring River Parks Alliance, assisted youngsters on the banks of the stream by repairing twisted lines and tying on hooks throughout the Kids' Fishing Day event.

During closing ceremonies, 11 volunteers were honored for dedicating 10 years of service to the annual Kids Fishing Day events. Honored volunteers included: Oliver Hopping, Adele Hopping, Michael Hopping, Linda Hopping, Les Hopping, Lynn Hopping, Dale Hopping, Tom Allgood, Juanita Allgood, Steve Allgood and Randy Allgood.

"The Hoppings also have the most volunteers from a single family," said Dean. "They are from Rogers, Ark., and Powell. The Allgoods are from Joplin."

The 2009 fall Kids' Fishing Day at Roaring River was sponsored by the following businesses and organizations: the Missouri Department of Conservation; the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Academy of Sports, of Joplin; Jim Rogers and David Waugh, of Missouri Parks Inc.; Charlie Stock, of Midwest Flies; Les Jacobs Ford-Mercury; Mark Jones, of A Vision Taxidermy; Russ Pendergraft, of A Vision of Wildlife Taxidermy; Walmart, of Bentonville (Ark.) and Cassville; Havenar's Fisherman's Inn; Ramey, of Cassville; Commerce Bank; Bank of America; Security Bank; Freedom Bank; MAKO Fly Fishing Club; Roaring River Parks Alliance; Jim's Wholesale Sporting Goods; Crawley Sporting Goods; and Able 2 Products.

Roaring River will host its 2010 Kids' Fishing Day events on May 15, 2010, and Aug. 21, 2010.

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