Adorned with her pearls and sparkly earrings, a smiling, little girl was among the one hundred and fourteen excited youth who made their appearances at the Barren Fork Fishing pond to participate in the 2016 annual Kids’ Fishing Derby sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service-Stearns Ranger District. All arrived hoping to catch some of the 1,300 pounds of catfish released into the pond just hours before the event.
Unlike those in previous derbies, this year’s catfish seemed leery of biting the slew of hooks baited with chicken livers, worms, shrimp, red hotdogs, and other fish tempting delicacies; however, the determined youngsters still managed to reel in a total of 205 pounds of the whiskered aquatic creatures.
It was a close competition for top prize in the ages 5-9 bracket with Alison Waters, age 9, finishing first with a total of 9.78 pounds caught. Seven year old Alex Groce, finishing close behind in second place, reeled in 9.13 pounds. Riley Crabtree, age 7, finished third in the age group with 6.39 pounds.
The top three finishers in the age 10-15 category were thirteen year old Jacob Stephens with a whopping 19.5 pounds of fish, ten year old Laketa Perry with 15.71 pounds, and twelve year old Emily Waters with 11.64 pounds.
In addition to the rods and reels awarded to the age bracket winners, all 114 participants received gift bags filled with lures and other goodies. Many youngsters received prizes, including BB guns, from the “door prize” drawings. Everyone enjoyed the grilled hamburgers and hotdogs prepared and/or furnished by the Pine Knot Job Corps and Orie S. Ware Masonic Lodge.
Sponsors for the 2016 Kids’ Fishing Derby included: Orie S. Ware Masonic Lodge, Pine Knot Job Corps, United Trappers of Kentucky (Stacy White), National Wild Turkey Federation-Southern Kentucky Strutters’ Chapter (Matt Baker, Bob Davidson), Champions for Drug Free McCreary County (Braxton King), Big South Fork Outdoors, and U.S. Forest Service-Stearns Ranger District (including support from USFS individual employees and their families.) A special thank you has been extended to all of the community for their help in advertising and “getting the word out” about the fishing derby.
The annual fishing derby is held each year on the first Saturday in June.