DUNMOR, Ky. (6/10/14) — Back in 2008, Mike Kirby decided to create an event that, in his words, "would get the youngsters off of the internet and away from the cell phones for a day."
Six years later, Kirby's annual event is still going strong.
This Saturday, hundreds will turn out for the Sixth Annual Fishing with a Kid day at Lake Malone State Park. One lucky participant will head home with a brand new Jon boat.
"A friend suggested that I put a fishing event together," Kirby told SurfKY News. "We gave it a try and the first year we had just over 100 children show up. Last year, we had close to 400 children attending, and we have had as many as 1,400 or 1,500 people total, counting family members and adults. It just seems to get bigger every year."
Last year, participants drove from as far away as Bowling Green to enjoy the day at Lake Malone.
The lucky Jon boat winner last year was Haley Lear, 6, from Greenville.
"This boat is fully rigged and ready to go," Kirby said. "We don't base the winning of the grand prize boat on the biggest fish. We just give all the prizes away, and then put all the names of each youngster in the hat and pull out a winner. We have several other great prizes, and a lot of trophies as well. It's just a big family event focusing on the children. We'll have Brother Mike Dukes there to talk a little about Jesus. We love that entire families show up. We also have a great group of volunteers that help out, as many as 40 to 50 volunteers. And, the sponsors make it possible for us to do this event free of charge to the families that take part. Everyone has helped out so much. It's phenomenal the response we've had over the past five years. I enjoy doing it."
Eight year old Ellie George will sing the "National Anthem", according to Kirby.
"Ashton George, 11, and Vann Burns, 7, will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ten year old Ally White will sing 'Victory in Jesus'. Ally won the boat the first year we gave one away. The boat dock is open, and there is gas available. Bobby Allen, from Belton-Beechmont Baptist Church will lead us in prayer before the event. Sign up is 6 to 8 a.m. Fishing starts as soon as they sign in. Please bring a bucket or bag to put your fish in. Everyone should be back at the pavilion by 11:30 a.m. Also, we want to thank all our men and women in uniform for fighting for our freedom so we can enjoy this day with our families."
Kirby noted that participants must be present to win prizes. The event is for young people ages 4 to 15 years of age. For those who want to get an early start, camping sites are available at Lake Malone State Park on Friday, June 13.Call the campground office at (270) 657-2111 for details. Primitive campers are first come first serve.
SurfKY News Reporter
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