MIDLOTHIAN — Worm the hook and cast the line, because the crew at Midlothian Parks and Recreation is grabbing their tackle boxes for the seventh annual Kids Fishing Derby.
The day of family fun and reeling in potential trophies is scheduled for Saturday, April 29.
“This event is a community event for children to recognize and be aware of their natural surroundings and get involved with the activity of fishing and outdoors,” explained Gina Moore, Midlothian Parks and Recreation Special Events and Recreation Coordinator.
Moore also said she is looking forward to relocating the event from the Ash Grove Gifford Hill Lake back to their "home pond."
“The first three derbies were at our Community Park Pond before the phase one development of the park was started. But then, once phase one started construction, we had to find a different venue for the event, and so Ash Grove very generously donated the use of their lake during that time,” stated Moore, who thanked the Ash Grove Cement Company for the use of their property.
“We are excited to go back to our pond where it originally started seven years ago,” she added.
Not only will the event return to its original location, but also Moore added that the pond would be well stocked with fish.
“We have several staff and individuals making sure there is enough fish in there. We’ve gotten several pictures of some nice-sized bass, so we’re excited about it,” Moore expressed.
Although the event is free to the public, Moore urges young fishers to bring their own fishing equipment.
“We have a few fishing poles there in case one gets broken or forgotten, but each participant is encouraged to bring their own type of bait and their fishing rods,” she affirmed.
With an expectation to exceed last year’s event attendance of 150 fishing participants and around 300 attendants, Moore encourages the community to get out and breath in the fresh air.
“We just want to encourage people to be outdoors and use our facility, and it’s amazing how many people come to sit and watch and observe. It’s just a good time and makes memories for every person who participates,” Moore acknowledged.
This year’s competition will also consist of three divisions, guaranteeing a fair shot for every young competitor.
“The venue is perfect because we limit it to 50 participants, so there’s no overcrowding and there’s ample space for you to sit and cast. So each participant can have a fair shot at winning the trophies,” Moore described. “It’s a family event, but the actual participants are between the ages of four to twelve, and we have divided it into three divisions. The first is the Minnow Division for ages four to six, the second is the Perch Division for seven to nine-year-olds, and then the last division is the Bass Division, and that’s the 10 to 12-year olds."
Adding to the list of prizes and the friendly competition, Moore also acknowledges the support of several community partnerships, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, In and Out Burger, Texas Game Warden, Midlothian Community Development Corporation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Ash Grove Cement Co., and Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.
As the derby takes shape — from In and Out Burger boxed lunches, to sponsored awards and certificates — Moore encourages parents to make the Kids Fishing Derby a family outing.
“Our main goal is to have resources for our community and our children in addition to youth sports, and not stay inside but also have a balance of inside and outside activities. It’s meant for the children so the parents and grandparents and even some siblings that are older can attend also,” Moore expressed. “We just love it as staff and seeing this event happen. It brings a lot of good smiles. It’s a great event to come out and enjoy."
The Kids Fishing Derby will held Saturday, April 29, from 8 a.m. – noon at the Midlothian Community Park Pond, located at 3601 South 14th Street.
To register and view derby rules, visit Midlothian’s Parks and Recreation Department at midlothian.tx.us/kidsfish or call (972) 775-7177.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer