Kids’ fishing derby a true community effort

The 18th Annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby, hosted by Shuswap Recreation Society, took place under cold, cloudy skies

The 18th Annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby, hosted by Shuswap Recreation Society, took place under cold, cloudy skies this past Sunday morning, June 15, at the end of the wharf at Marine Park. In spite of the weather, more than 500 people showed up to take part in what has become one of the most popular events in the Shuswap.

From six o’clock on there was a steady stream of anglers and parents making their way to the end of the wharf.

Each year the derby is held in conjunction with the province’s Family Fishing Weekend program and attracts hundreds of participants, as well as parents, grandparents and people who just come down to watch and cheer on the kids.

As in past, it did not take very long for the first fish to be caught. Anthony Materi received First Fish honours along with a plaque, a $100 education certificate from CUPE and a fishing outfit. Materi also caught the second largest number of fish, but chose to relinquish that prize so that another child could win. Materi is a true sportsman – and one heck of an angler.

Cadence Tulak made a total of 11 trips to the weigh-in station to secure first place in the Most Fish category. She received the Westside Stores Most Fish Trophy, as well as a rod and reel outfit, a $100 education certificate from Rotary and a $100 gift certificate from Westside Stores. Cameron Bouchard placed second and Charleigh Lemay third. Both received rod and reel outfits and all three received plaques.

Jayda Kopel won in the Largest Fish category and will have her name inscribed on the William J. Murray Memorial Trophy. She also received a glass “keeper” trophy, a rod and reel outfit, a $200 SASCU scholarship and will be taking her whole family on an all-expenses-paid fishing trip to Beaver Lake Lodge.

Evan Hollatz placed second and received a rod and reel outfit as well as a $100 Rotary scholarship. Alex Smolne placed third and received a rod and reel outfit and the Crook Family scholarship. Both also received plaques.

Emily Alcott and Levi Alyward won in the Hidden Weight category sponsored by Canadian Tire and both received new mountain bikes and helmets.

Patrice LeBlanc received $500 in groceries for the Parent Appreciation prize.

As one of the organizers of the Kids’ Fishing Derby, it certainly gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction when I see former participants like Aly Vann and Jordan Hofer coming back year after year to volunteer and help with the derby. They are mentors for the younger kids and pretty darned good role models.

This year, 238 young anglers registered for the derby, with 52 kids catching a total of 148 coarse fish. Close to $5,000 in scholarships and prizes were handed out.

The derby has become a community event in the truest sense. It would never happen if it were not for all the members of the community who give back in so many ways. People like the Crook family who each year donate a scholarship in memory of Jerry Crook; service clubs such as Rotary and the Elks Lodge, who not only help support the derby financially, but also volunteer of their time. Then there are all the volunteers who get up at five o’clock to help out with the registration, including Mayor Nancy Cooper.

The derby could not take place without the support of Donna Flatman from the Shuswap Recreation Society, and the six lifeguards who keep an eye on all the young participants.

I can’t say enough about  the people who help out with the derby, but I want them to know that I am grateful to them.