The North Missouri Sportsman's Alliance (NMSA) held its largest youth fishing derby last Saturday in Chillicothe, Missouri.
Steve Shoot, NMSA president, said there were around 97 attendees at the fourth annual kids' fishing event.
"We estimate that over 60 youth were at the event," Shoot said. "This was our best turnout ever. We worked to make sure the kids had fun and we also gave fishing-related prizes to every kid that was there."
Shoot said the prizes they offered attendees included items such as tackle boxes, sinkers and fish cleaning equipment. He said every attendee 15 years of age and under received a free fishing lure when they registered.
The fishing derby was a non-competitive event and only children were allowed to fish.
"Adults were allowed to help the kids cast and, if needed, could provide minimal assistance when a fish was being brought to shore," Shoot said.
The event was co-sponsored by the North Missouri Sportsman's Alliance (NMSA) and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
Shoot said the event is designed to provide youth and their families an opportunity to participate in fishing.
"We want to make this a fun day for families and their children and grandchildren," Shoot said. "We had one set of grandparents bring six of their grandchildren to the event. We want to provide an opportunity for the next generation to fish."
He said there were kids at the derby that were experienced at fishing and those that had not gone before.
"The reason we offer free fishing equipment to the kids is so they will have more of what they need to go fishing in the future," Shoot said.
The fishing derby was at the pond located on the west side of The Baptist Home in Chillicothe. The Baptist Home is located just north of the Green Hills Golf Course on U.S. Highway 65.
The conservation department has increased the number of fish at the pond. The pond has bass, bluegill and a few channel catfish.
"There were kids that caught some keeper-sized bass," Shoot said. "We had one youth that caught a bass that was 14 inches long."
Conservation department personnel offered hands-on assistance during the derby and provided fishing poles, equipment and bait.
"We got a lot of help from the conservation department and their staff," Shoot said. "They brought extra rods-and-reels for those that didn't have any."
In addition, the Sportsman's Alliance provided a free lunch at the end of the event. The drinks were provided by the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Chillicothe.
Shoot said the organization appreciates the support of the 38 sponsors to the youth event this year.
"We couldn't put this event on without the support of the sponsors and the community," Shoot said. "This is a great event to get kids involved and interested in fishing."
For more information on the organization, contact Shoot by phone at 660-752-8010.