HENDERSONVILLE, TENN. (June 11, 2011) — A fishing rodeo here today at Old Hickory Lake lured hundreds of anxious and excited kids away from their video games and televisions.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District park rangers partnered with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Hendersonville Parks and Recreation Department, Coca-Cola Bottling, Publix, and Dicks Sporting Goods to sponsor the event at Memorial Park in Hendersonville, Tenn.
What began as a small fishing event for the community in 2006 has since blossomed into a fun-filled event involving Hendersonville communities and counties.
"We love coming to this fishing rodeo," said James and Marilyn Flockenchier from Hendersonville, who brought their 6-year-old granddaughter Bridget Walling for a day of fishing.
“She’s excited every time the rod goes in the water and this is an excellent event for us to spend some quality time and enjoy the day,” said James Flockenchier.
The fishing derby started at 8 a.m. and ended at noon, however more than 200 participants started gathering 7:30 a.m. and continued to grow throughout the day to get first crack at their favorite fishing holes. Grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts toted rods and reels, tackle boxes and lawn chairs.
"My grandfather has brought me here for the last three years," said Brandon Turner, 14, from Madison, Tenn. "He calls this our hang out time and he teaches me how to fish," said Turner.
According to Chick Crandell, a mechanic and organizer of the event for the Hendersonville parks department, the annual fishing rodeo is designed as an opportunity and great way to lure kids outdoors away from computer games and television while connecting them to the great outdoors, fishing and bringing the entire family together to have fun in the sun.
“It’s perfect for teaching little ones how to fish,” said Crandell, “and it’s good to see kids having fun and some kid will catch their first fish today.”
“My family is having a great time out here catching fish and it allows us to come together for family time,” said Jennifer Smith.
Smith said for the last two years her family has participated in the rodeo and enjoys teaching the kids how to fish.
“Our kids simply love it,” said Smith. “This is something they will remember us doing forever.”
Trey, 8, from Hendersonville, is a cub scout who caught his first fish, a one pound bass. He said he enjoyed hanging out with his family and learning how to fish so he’ll be good at it when he gets older.
Charlie Leath, park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, set up a booth and said he enjoyed walking around talking with kids sharing water safety and boating information during the rodeo.
“The kids love these kinds of activities and it lures kids away from the television and video games,” said Leath. “I’m looking forward to next year.
The rodeo registered more than 200 kids and participants received a bag full of goodies, candy, a free T-shirt, and lunch pass for food and drinks.
The event is free, but participants were encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment and preferred baits or lures. A limited amount of fishing equipment and bait were provided for those first time fishers and who needed it.
On June 11 this year fishing is free in the state of Tennessee. The rodeo is one of a few of the fishing events going on around the state that supplies specialized fishing for kids.
"There is plenty of fun here and you can see it in the kids’ faces," said Leath. "It's great to see the reactions when they catch their first fish."
“This whole event would not be possible without the sponsors and volunteers,” said Crandell. “It’s good to see so many anxious kids smiling, learning and catching fish.”
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