June 2, 2010 Edition

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Fishing Derby reels
in fun for children

Eight-year-old Mason Boyd of Walnut Ridge brings in a fish with the help of his dad, Michael Boyd, at Stewart Park. Ten-year-old Matthew Boyd (left) also hooked some nice catfish during the city of Walnut Ridge fishing derby held Saturday morning.
TD Photo ~ Frank M. Witowski Jr.
Frank Witowski Jr.
Staff Writer

It was the perfect day to go fishing, and the fish were biting like crazy during the annual fishing derby held Saturday morning at Stewart Park. Ten-year-old Matthew Boyd and his brother, Mason, said they look forward to the event every year.

Matthew's dad, Michael Boyd, said it is a family tradition. "I fished at this rodeo when I was a kid," Boyd said. "I had fun doing it when I was a kid, and that's why I take them every year...."

Whitney Rider, 12, of Portia caught a slew of fish. "I love catching fish and spending time with my dad," she said. "This will be my third year. He (Dad) gets to do the fun part of taking them off the hook."

Junior Waldrupe of Hoxie and his grandson, Ain Fletcher, also enjoyed spending the morning together at the park.

Three-year-old River Woodson of Walnut Ridge was excited to go fishing for the first time in her young life, four-year-old Selena Rice was scared of the catfish she caught and 11-year-old David Becker of Bono enjoyed his first fishing derby at Stewart Park.

Bryan Butts, fishing derby coordinator, said the fishing derby has been an annual event for at least 22 years. It is currently sponsored by Mayor Michelle Rogers.

Butts said the Arkansas Game and Fish put 400 eatable-sized catfish into the pond on Friday. "The pool is full of fish," Butts said. "They're guaranteed to catch fish."

Butts added there were less participants this year than expected, but it was still a good turnout and everyone seemed to be having a good time. He said the fishing derby is always held the Saturday before Memorial Day.

He reminds visitors to the park that only people with handicaps and children under 12 are permitted to fish at Stewart Park.

A list of the fishing derby winners was not available at press time.

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