Column: Community support keeps fishing derby going

The water levels on Shuswap Lake seem to have peaked, the carp are in the bay and this past weekend I saw a number of kids down at the end of the wharf with their fishing rods.

All good signs for the upcoming 22nd Annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby, which will be held Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17 down at the wharf.

Everything seems to be falling into place. The organizers have been putting up posters, collecting prizes and organizing registration lists. It’s hard to believe that in a little more than a week, both the derby organizers and volunteers alike will once again be making their way down to the end of the wharf at five o’clock in the morning to help set up. I should mention that an event like the Kids’ Fishing Derby could never happen without the many volunteers who get up so early to help out. My hat is off to each and every one of them, especially one volunteer in particular, Rotarian Fred Goodman, who has been coming down to help out for the past 20 years.

The derby means a lot to me. I started it 22 years ago, the year after my father passed away, in his honour and as a way to show my gratitude for all the times he took us kids fishing. The way he saw it, there are worse things that kids might do than spend time fishing.

The annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby is open to all children 12 years of age and under. There is no cost to enter the derby. Registration takes place Sunday morning, beginning at 6 a.m., at the end of the wharf. And the only restrictions are that each child must be accompanied by an adult and must wear a life-jacket or PFD. Six certified lifeguards are on duty throughout the event. Some life jackets are available for children who do not have one. Only coarse fish are eligible for trophies and prizes, and fish must be caught and played by the child. An adult can, however, assist in netting a fish.

As in every year past, an awards ceremony will take place immediately following the derby at the end of the wharf where trophies and major prizes will be handed out.

The lucky angler who lands the first fish of the derby will receive the Westside Stores Trophy, a rod and reel outfit and a $100 gift certificate.

The angler who manages to catch the most fish will receive the City of Salmon Arm Trophy, a rod and reel outfit and a one-year pass to the recreation centre swimming pool.

Second- and third-place winners will receive rod and reel outfits.

Two anglers who catch fish closest to predetermined “secret weights” will have their names scribed onto the Skookum Cycle and Ski Trophy and will each win a brand new shiny bike.

The angler who catches the largest fish will receive the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union W. J. (Bill) Murray Memorial Trophy, a rod and reel outfit, and they will get to take their whole family on an all expenses paid weekend fishing trip to a fishing lodge which will include accommodations, boat and motor and $100 worth of groceries.

Second and third place winners will receive rod and reel outfits.

There are also a whole whack of other great prizes given out throughout the derby as well as two special Family Appreciation draw prizes. Adults receive one draw ticket for each child they register. At the awards ceremony, two tickets will be drawn and two lucky families will each win special Outdoor Family Fun packages from Ian Gray’s Salmon Arm GM.

This year there will also be a new CUPE-sponsored Sportsmanship Award, as well as an Outstanding Role Model Award sponsored by derby co-organizer Aly Vann.

The Annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby has been successful in large part to a lot of hard work by derby organizers, not to mention all the volunteers who have helped out over the years.

Like I said, I know what the derby has meant to me. I also know what it has meant to the many families that have come down to the wharf on Father’s Day to take part in the derby.

I know because they have told me.

That too means a lot and I guess when it comes right down to it, that’s why I still try to be a part of it all – at least for a few more years.

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