In June 12-18 issue
By Kim Graham
Times Journal Reporter
WOLF CREEK DAM - Despite near-record sweltering heat, hundreds of kids lined the banks of Hatchery Creek for an hour in each age group through the hottest part of the day. Many of them hauled in good-sized keepers, and a number pulled in prize-winning "biggest fish" for which trophies were given.
“The crowd really doesn’t look any bigger,” said James Gray, Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery Project Leader. “There’s always people leaving and showing up.”
The 22nd annual event, held at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, drew what was called a record number of participants this year. James Gray, Director of the WCNF Hatchery, estimated that around 1,650 young people took part and over 4,000 were in attendance.
Most folks in attendance traveled locally within a 50 mile radius. However, there were many from other states including Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and South Carolina.
“I think we did a little better job of advertising,” Gray said. “We had several competing events in the area including the Russell County Fair and we still had a big crowd.”
The intense heat and strong sunshine took a toll on many. “Everything went pretty smooth except that 4 or 5 people were treated for heat exhaustion,” Gray said.
Many also took advantage of visiting the recently built and impressive Visitor Center at the National Fish Hatchery with its aquariums and displays. And air conditioning.
New to the kids fishing derby this year is Jamestown Elementary Food Service. They handed out 930 lunchables meals and milk to kids 19 and under.
As in years past, every participant was giving an event tee shirt and awarded gifts, several new bicycles were given away in each age category, and all food – popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs – and drinks were free.
“Catch a Rainbow stands out by all the give-aways,’ said Gray. “Through donations, we are able to give out tee shirts, prizes, food and drink.”
In addition to fishing, there were several attractions and other events to participate in, from archery lessons to casting contests and more. Wal-Mart FLW Fishing Tour provided a booth with electronic fishing rides. Even Ronald McDonald, Smokey Bear and Goldie Fish came by to visit.
The casting contest was sponsored by Bassmasters and Ducks Unlimited sponsored the Archery Shoot.
There were about twenty $1,000+ contributors including several local businesses such as McDonald’s of Russell Springs, First National Bank and Bank of Jamestown.
Other local sponsors were Innovative Business Concepts, Bluegrass Grill Gas, Lake Cumberland Community Action, Duo County Telephone and many others.
“We’re always looking for sponsors,” said Gray. “You can’t put this on without the sponsors and the volunteer effort. That’s what makes it all work so well.”
Plaques of commendation were also given to the many companies, groups and individuals who donated time, money, products and more to make the completely free event a major success.