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Fishing rodeo a whopper of a success

April 24, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • Charles Turner, left, helps his 9-year-old grandson Benjamin Starkey with the fish he caught Saturday morning at the Fishing Rodeo at the Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School. Benjamin later found out that the 8-inch bass he caught had just eaten a little 2-inch fish, a possible winner for the smallest fish caught.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer,

CLEAR SPRING -- Something fishy was going on Saturday morning at the Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School at Fairview.

Cars packed the parking lots, families carried buckets and chairs, and youths circled the edge of a large pond.

It was the school's first fishing rodeo -- a chance to catch the big one and win a few prizes along the way.

"It's a day of fun and education," said Wayne Eckley, event organizer and a teacher at the outdoor school.

The activity fits in with the school's mission to provide unique experiences that promote environmental awareness, he said.

About 200 people were on hand for the rodeo -- 125 of them contestants.

The age categories for the event included pre-kindergarten to grade 5, grades 6 to 8 and grades 9 to 12.

With the help of parents and grandparents, the participants spent several hours angling for one of the many trout that filled the pond, courtesy of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Albert M. Powell Hatchery.

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Reserve officers from the National Resources Police served as volunteers, doing all of the scoring and measuring, Eckley said.

Prizes were awarded for the longest trout caught, plus smallest in length and most fish caught of any species.

Hoping to nab one of those prizes was Hunter Mayberry, 5, of Upton, Pa.

Within the first hour of the competition, Hunter had caught six fish, said his grandfather, Patrick Baylor.

"He's gone fishing before," he said. "But this is the first time he's actually caught something."

"He's very excited," said his grandmother, Sharon Baylor. "I think this might spoil him. After today, he'll think he should catch that many fish every time."

Caleb Brown, 8, had caught two sunnies, but no trout, which was his goal for the day, said his mother, Lisa Reed.

"So far, we've been throwing everything back in the water," she said. "We're still waiting for a winner."

In addition to the fishing rodeo, Eckley said the outdoor school also offered displays from Washington County "green schools," as well as a "Wall of Shame" from the Maryland National Resources Police focusing on illegal hunting activities in the state.

Eckley said the fishing rodeo was so successful, "we'll absolutely be doing this again."

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