All about the kids

Hundreds enjoy 30th Annual Van Hook Association Kid’s Fishing Derby

Submitted Photo More than 600 people enjoyed a fish fry and picnic in the park following the 30th Annual Van Hook Association Kid’s Fishing Derby. The event was held Saturday.

VAN HOOK – Oh my did they have fun!

The 30th Annual Van Hook Association Kid’s Fishing Derby was held here Saturday. Boats and pontoons descended upon the Van Hook boat ramps shortly before the 9 a.m. start. Many of the craft were decorated in various themes for the event.

Kids and adults were in costume too. Among them were pirates, super heroes and patriots. The whole idea was to enjoy fishing on Lake Sakakawea. Not even a brisk wind could put a damper on the day.

“It’s all about having fun,” said Charles DeMakis, tournament chairman. “The whole point of the day is getting kids on the water, fishing with family and friends, and teaching them about the outdoors. We had 238 kids fishing this year in 77 boats. It’s great to get that much interest in something involving kids.”

There were 222 adults on the water too, all helping kids have an enjoyable day. The Van Hook arm of Lake Sakakawea certainly didn’t disappoint. DeMakis estimated that over 200 fresh caught walleye were served up to more than 600 attendees at the post-derby picnic in the Van Hook park.

Submitted Photo Carter Miller proudly hoists up two walleye. Miller was a participant in Saturday’s Van Hook Association Kid’s Fishing Derby. His grandparents have a residence at Van Hook.

“What isn’t cool about it?” asked Dawn Ritts, Van Hook park manager. “It’s awesome. It’s an amazing event. The Van Hook Association does such a great job. It’s all about the kids.”

Ritts was quick to credit the large number of Van Hook Association volunteers, from fish cleaners to fish fryers, needed to run such a sizeable event.

The fish caught by the kids were not weighed on a scale but rather measured on a ruler. A formula was used to assign a weight to each fish. There was no limit to the number of children on a fishing team. Some pontoons had several young fishermen aboard. Smaller boats had fewer young anglers but all were enjoying the family oriented event.

“I had a little girl in the pontoon I was in,” remarked DeMakis. “She was thrilled with a 20 inch walleye.”

Proceeds raised from the derby will be used for the betterment of the Van Hook community and facilities. Special prizes were awarded to the top 10 teams but all participants received items ranging from fishing reels to tackle boxes. A number of items were donated by merchants in nearby New Town, Minot and elsewhere.

“The kids get into it and feel proud. It makes it fun and exciting,” said Ritts.

“The 240 smiling faces I saw made it all worthwhile,” said DeMakis in summing up the day.


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