In June 10 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
More than 1,500 children attended the 24th Catch a Rainbow fishing derby at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery this past Saturday, according to James Gray, the hatchery’s project manager.
With actual numbers around 3,000 due to volunteers, parents and workers, the scene at hatchery creek was a sight to behold and the weather was perfect for the event.
“Besides the fishing we had a casting contest, big fish contest, archery shoot, face paintings and tattoos, cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs and drinks” Gray said. “Every kid received a T-shirt and prize.”
Gray said there were no major problems and that he has already heard many positive comments from folks near and far who participated in the event.
“We wouldn't be able to provide the things we do without all our great sponsors and volunteers who make it happen,” he said. “Also, my staff works very hard before, during and after the derby to make sure everything works.”
He said the longstanding and ever-growing derby is a family event where everything is free to all those involved. Even Ronald McDonald and Smokey Bear showed up for the 1,525 children who attended.
“The key is we are trying to promote recreational fishing and teach folks about the importance of the environment and how they can do there part,” he said. “For example, all the prizes we give away are outdoor related, rod and reel, tackle box, sleeping bag and tents. If they get a prize they have to go outside to use it.”
The event began in 1986 and has grown each year since, according to event organizers.
Amanda Patrick, the hatchery's environmental education and outreach specialist, said the event was designed as a fun-filled way to get children outdoors and connected to fishing, which it has obviously done in its 24 years of service.
Sponsors for the big event included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Friends of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, Walmart of both Somerset and Monticello, Ducks Unlimited, Keystone Foods, Fruit of the Loom, McDonald's of Russell Springs, Pepsi, Treviicos-Soletanche, Shakespeare, FLW Outdoors, South Kentucky RECC, Duo County Telephone, First National Bank of Russell Springs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Nashville district, Russell County Chamber of Commerce, Bank of Jamestown, Jamestown Resort and Marina, Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, Monticello Banking Company, Lee's Ford Resort and Marina, Kentucky State Parks-Lake Cumberland State Park, R. Fred Capps Memorial Golf Tournament, Office Depot of Somerset, Lowe's of Somerset, Houchen's Markets, Hometown IGA, Primo Water Distributor, Cumberland Lake Shell and Lake Country Outdoors of Russell Springs.
A special thanks also goes out to Johanna Spencer, the administrator for the Friends of Wolf Creek group, who played a big role in helping to organize the event.