Illinois club hosts kids derby

WENONA, Ill. — Members of the Central Illinois Bassmasters continued to show their appreciation for the community support they receive by hosting the club’s annual kids fishing derby, July 20, at a private pond.

The club decided five years ago to make the fishing derby its annual youth project, according to club president Brian Tutko.

“We have members from all over, so we picked Wenona as a central location, and the people from the area supported us so we thought what better way to give back to the community than to do a youth event,” Tutko said.

The event drew 28 kids who competed in three age divisions: 4 to 6 years old, 7-10 and 11-14. Trophies were given to the Top 3 finishers in each age group and the big fish award. Each child received a free T-shirt and a ticket for an attendance prize drawing. When their ticket was drawn, the kids got to pick prizes of rods and reels, fishing tackle and toys ranging in price from $5 to $30.

“We make sure everyone gets a prize,” said Tutko. “We let the kids weigh in panfish and bass for total weight. For the overall big fish award, that has to be a bass.”

Club members volunteering to run the event were Austin Moore, Matt Birmingham, Justin Newell, Steve Robbins, Sam Stortz, Brian Robbins, Brent Swartz, Mike Griffin, Gene Walking, Bill McNutt and Tutko.