One could not tell who was more excited, the kids or the parents, at the recent “Hooked On Fishing -Not On Drugs Day” Event.
On Saturday, May 12, the Craig County Sheriff’s Office held its annual event on the beautiful banks of Barbours Creek and the Craig County Fairgrounds. Kids from all over Craig County participated while parents seemed to have just as much fun.
“This is an annual event to promote a positive alternative to drug use,” Sheriff Craddock said. “It is sponsored by the local businesses, churches and individuals in Craig County as well as people from other states who donate money or prizes so that this event can be held each year.”
All children who registered received a free shirt, a prize, a silicone bracelet and a meal ticket.
“My son Hunter loves to fish,” Bubby Ponton shared. “I have never met a kid that doesn’t enjoy everything about ‘Hooked on Fishing.’”
Many kids were elated about the days’ excitement. Some caught a 3” beauty as their first fish. Others squealed with delight throughout the day. The following four words were said countless times: “See what I caught?”
Parents could not contain their proud posture, as they glanced around to see whom all saw the ‘catch’ their child made. The enormous grins quickly gave it away.
“We look forward to this event every year,” Ponton exclaimed. “Both Hunter and my niece, Gracie Huffman, caught their limit with Gracie getting her first citation brook trout 2.12 pounds and 19 inches.”
Ponton laughed a little and said that he was not sure if they like catching the big trout, getting a new fishing pole or tackle box, eating hot dogs or playing with friends the most.
“We will be there Lord willing until Hunter cannot fish anymore, and we will probably still attend to take kids that want to go enjoy a great day or just help volunteer,” he said.
The atmosphere was filled with laughter, giggles and squeals as several kids understood the importance of not scaring the fish.
“The children of Craig County look forward to this event each year,” Craddock shared. “I feel it makes a positive difference in their lives.”
Jonathan Slusher added, “My daughter, Mae, enjoyed the entire day. They gave shirts and prizes to every kid, and then we hit the creek where everyone was friendly, and there was much laughing. She loved the jump house and slide they had at the Fairgrounds too! I think it was pretty awesome and will most likely do it next year!”
After all of the fishing was done, everyone gathered back at the Fairgrounds where the Craig County Fairgrounds Association served lunch. Kids got to register for lots of great prizes which included: two-lifetime fishing licenses, a free mount for the largest fish donated by Smith’s Taxidermy, a $50.00 passbook saving account from Carters Bank and Trust and numerous others.
“I would like to personally thank the Fairground Association for the use of their facility and all of our sponsors for helping make this event possible each year. Without their support, this would not be possible,” Sheriff Craddock said.
Many parents like Ponton agreed that it was “an all-around great event and they appreciated all the people, businesses and Sheriff’s Office who worked so hard!”
Ponton’s son, Hunter, fished in the Jesse Carper Memorial Musky Fishing Tournament this year. “They raise a lot of money for ‘Hooked on Fishing’ that is donated by the Carper family,” he said.
As everyone exited, kids were congratulating each another on his or her ‘catch’ of the day, regardless of small or big. It seemed that any catch made it a great day!