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Kids cast away at sports show

March 06, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - "I can do it," said 7-year-old Faith Bruchey, her long blond hair tied on top in a ribbon, her tongue stuck out in determination, her fishing rod held high.

She swung her arm and the lure flew across to the target on the ground 30 feet away. Her accuracy netted her an 80, high enough to put her in the cast-off competition later in the day.

The little Smithsburg girl is one of more than 100 children ages 7-14 competing in the Casting Kids Event at the Western Maryland Sports Show under way this weekend at the Washington County Agricultural Center on Sharpsburg Pike. The show continues today from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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The show is sponsored by Reel Time Bass Anglers. It features seminars, speakers and vendor and exhibitor booths offering fishing tackle, some hunting gear, mounted specimens and a few boats.

This is the show's second year.

"We only had 15 vendors last year. This year, we have 49," said Les Milburn, club president and show organizer. "We'll have to find a bigger building next year."

The goal of the event is to provide every child with a fishing rod, tackle and training in the sport, he said.

Faith Bruchey's father, David Bruchey, an ardent angler, said Faith is "my only boy."

She said she likes to go fishing with her father, as long as it's in the afternoon.

"I don't really like to get up early," she said. She likes to catch "rainbow fish and the fish with whiskers."

Sydney Hockensmith, 6, and her brother, Nick, 10, were in the casting competition. Their parents, Tim and Diane Hockensmith of Fairplay, stood on the sidelines as their children competed.

"I fish as much as possible," Tim Hockensmith said.

"We have four boats," Diane Hockensmith said. "He took me fishing on our first date, and now the whole family fishes. It's a good family activity. We all go in the boat - even Sasha, our yellow lab."

One booth getting interest was occupied by Brad Yeakle, 31, of Greencastle, Pa., and Greg Brown, 39, of Hagerstown, both members of the Maryland Fur Trapping Association.

Their table was lined with skins of the animals they trap in Washington County - beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink, red and gray fox, raccoon and coyote.

Brown showed a photo of red and gray fox skins covering the side of a two-story barn. He said he trapped the 117 foxes in 17 days in the county this past season, which ran from Nov. 1 to Jan. 19.

Fox skins sell for $18 to $20, Brown said.

Both acknowledged that their sport is under constant fire from animal rights activists and that they continually have to lobby the Maryland General Assembly to keep trapping from being banned.

"What we're doing is using a management tool that the Department of Natural Resources approves of to harvest fur-bearing animals," Yeakle said. "If they weren't trapped, their populations would skyrocket because most of these animals aren't hunted."

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