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franklin county times

Kids fishing derby celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week

By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
May 30, 2003
The Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby is coming again to Meridian. The date is June 7 and the place is the Meridian Fish Hatchery, located about a quarter mile south of Meridian Municipal Airport on Highway 11 South. Area kids five through fourteen years of age are eligible to participate and there is no charge. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and fishing continues until 11:30 a.m. Kids must bring their own fishing rods and bait.
Parents and other adults should bring kids in this age group and take advantage of this free event. Lasting memories that can positively influence young lives result from a few short hours where the focus is on the child and having fun catching catfish. It is a rare child who isn't thrilled by just the opportunity to catch a fish.
And many of us old timers seek out and regularly enjoy angling thrills that we first experienced in our early lives.
Locally the derby is sponsored by the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department (MPRD). "Meridian Parks and Recreation and Wal-Mart Super Center have a strong commitment to America's youth and are proud to celebrate National Fishing And Boating Week by sponsoring an unforgettable day of fishing for the kids and their families," said Mary Quince, MPRD official.
The third National Fishing and Boating Week is June 1 through 8.
All participants will receive multi-colored souvenir derby stickers compliments of the national sponsors.
Meridian's derby is just one of 1,800 that will be held across the country with an estimated 300,000 anglers participating.
The people who organize the world's largest fishing program for young anglers proudly brag that "everybody's a winner." And this year, they will also tell you, some young people will win twice.
Special events
To add to the fun and excitement, Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI) has announced three special contests open to all who participate in the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby events.
(1) The "I Caught a Fish!" contest is one of the most popular events. Every young angler who catches a fish, even a tiny one, earns a chance to be in the drawing for one of three Wal-Mart Shopping Cards. The grand prize winner will receive a Wal-Mart Shopping Card valued at $500. Second and third place Shopping Card prizes are valued at $250 and $100 respectively.
(2) Zebco Kids Casting Contest is another popular part of the program. At this event, contestants cast toward targets and earn points for hitting or coming closest to the targets. Winners in both age categories, 10 and under and 11 through 14, receive a Zebco rod and reel combo and a Zebco Casting Contest Award Certificate. In addition, all contestants whose entry forms are returned to national headquarters by the deadline will be eligible for a national drawing for a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond from Zebco.
(3) Catching a fish is a thrill, but catching a big fish is always a bigger thrill. To focus attention on the young anglers who catch the trophies, the Fujifilm Big Fish Contest will reward state winners with a Fujifilm Quick-Snap 2-Pack Camera and a Certificate of Achievement. Nationally, the angler with the heaviest saltwater fish and the angler with the heaviest freshwater fish will win a $500 U.S. Savings Bond as well as a gift basket with Fujifilm products.
Everyone wins
In addition to Wal-Mart, Zebco and Fujifilm, the events are funded and supported by Bar-S Foods Co., Berkley PowerBait, Berkley Trilene, ConAgra Foods, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Eagle Claw, EverStart Batteries, FishingWorld.com, Johnson &Johnson First Aid Pocket Pals, Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, and Laker Fishing Tackle.
Now in its 17th year, HOFI recruits civic and fishing clubs, recreation departments, and wildlife agencies to put on the events locally. With the support of sponsors, HOFI provides the official derby kits to local volunteers at no charge.
Official derby kits contain event promotion materials, prizes and other giveaways, product samples and the important Derby Organizer Handbook, a step-by-step guide for putting on a Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby.
Parents and kids who would like to participate in the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby program may pre-register at the Meridian Parks and Recreation office at Highland Park.
Otherwise registration can be accomplished at the June 7 event. Additional information is available from Mary Quince at (601) 485-1805.

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