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Despite the threat of heavy rain and potential thunderstorms last Saturday across West Tennessee a big crowd of young anglers with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in tow showed up at …
Despite the threat of heavy rain and potential thunderstorms last Saturday across West Tennessee a big crowd of young anglers with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in tow showed up at McKenzie’s City Park Lake with fishing on their mind.
Young boys and girls weren’t about to let the weatherman deter them from a morning of fishing at the 19th Annual Steve McCadams Casting For A Cure Kids Fishing Rodeo.
Filling the shoreline and pier were some 84 youngsters eager to do battle with feisty catfish silently swimming in the placid waters. Skies were dark as rolling clouds passed over the area but the army of future fishermen didn’t let the gloomy looking morning dampen their spirits.
After a stop at the registration table each angler received a fish stringer and a nice yellow fishing towel courtesy of The Nashville Predators. Additional prizes such as hockey pucks and a handsome engraved Predator’s jersey were also donated to the rodeo.
From several surrounding counties they showed up to fish and that’s just what they did. As soon as the whistle blew the show was on and one youngster----11-year old Bryson Whitaker of Paris---landed a hefty 3-pound channel catfish on his very first cast!
Apparently his bait, a big fat nightcrawler, was just what the doctor ordered and the hefty fish opted for a quick breakfast before any other fish could beat him to it.
Several kids across the lake saw quick action as the fish were sporting an appetite. Squeals of excitement here; screams of joy there. A cry or two as well when that big one slipped away and rolled back into the lake when either a line broke or the jumping fish just used all his wits to find his way back into the drink.
“I was well pleased with the event and thankful the weather cooperated,” said McCadams, host of the annual fishing rodeo that started 19 years ago at Carroll Lake. “I worried all week about the forecast and wondered what we could do if lightning and rain descended. Thankfully, the Good Lord held an umbrella over us!”
“It was another successful rodeo as several volunteers helped me pave the way for a fine fishing day for the kids as we battled cancer and fish at the same time. Thanks to donors who opened their hearts and pocketbooks again we had several door prizes that put big smiles on little faces”!
Each year the rodeo makes a donation to the American Cancer Society through Carroll County Relay For Life.
Handsome engraved plaques and nice bicycles were awarded to the youngster in four separate age brackets who either caught the most fish or biggest fish.
Taking the top spot in the 5 and under age bracket for the biggest fish was Jaxon Hochreiter of McKenzie for a dandy weighing 2.56 pounds. Landing the most fish was Ryker Cherry of Atwood.
In the 6-8 age bracket it was Kinley Adams of Atwood who landed the big one courtesy of a channel catfish that tipped the scales at a whopping 4.22 pounds! Turns out it was the biggest fish caught in this year’s rodeo.
Earning the most fish honors was Creek Coleman of Slidell, Louisiana, who was visiting with his grandad Dale and great grandfather Ted of McKenzie.
In addition to winning the most fish honors he and his brother won a rod and reel combo for traveling the longest distance to fish in the rodeo this year. Another youngster from Illinois barely missed out.
From the 9-12 year age bracket came another big fish weighing 4.10 pounds caught by Aydan Ayers of Camden. Casten Brock of Gleason had the most fish thanks to a stringer of 15 fish.
Kaylan Borneman of Gleason had the big fish in the 13-15 year age bracket with a nice catfish weighing 3.96 pounds. Most fish went to Dixie Bennett of Henry.
“It was indeed a great day in the outdoors for these kids and their families,” continued McCadams. “The cloud cover filtered out the sun and heat so that really helped.”
McCadams paid tribute to McKenzie City Parks and Recreation for their assistance. Mike Beasley and his crew helped make the rodeo a success as did Mayor Jill Holland for the city’s hospitality.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stocked the lake with catfish on Thursday prior to the rodeo and several donors such as Pepsi, Wal-Mart and McDonalds helped out as well. Without these folks we couldn’t have a rodeo.
With next year’s 20th anniversary fast approaching plans are already underway to host a big event. Carroll Lake will reopen in 2020 but McCadams said he wasn’t sure if the rodeo would move back to its original home or stay at McKenzie City Park.
“We’ll see how things go in the months ahead but holding the rodeo at McKenzie’s City Park Lake has worked well for us. We’ve had great cooperation from the city as to a pavilion, bathrooms, trash cans and courteous staff. The small lake keeps the fish concentrated in an area where the kids really do well!”
“When the smoke clears and the rodeo is over I’m sort of worn down but lifted up by the hopes we introduced kids to the great sport of fishing while fostering time outdoors with friends and family for a good cause,” he said.