Residents turn out big in D.A.R.E fishing tournament

Published 12:01am Sunday, October 6, 2013

Vidalia — More than 300 children made their way to the Concordia Parish Community Center last week for the Miss-Lou Merchants D.A.R.E. Youth Fishing Tournament.

Tournament committee member Donna Jones said she was pleased with the turn out.

“It was a real fun day,” she said. “A lot of families came out to fish.”

The D.A.R.E. program hosts the event together each year to promote positivity in the community.

“It’s to promote the D.A.R.E. program and to bring families out and promote family values,” she said.

The tournament was at a new location despite its usual Bowie festival showing, but Jones said it didn’t stop people from showing up and hooking their bait.

The tournament allowed more than 300 children to weigh in their fish, play games, receive participation trophies, prizes, hotdogs and portraits.

Jones said there was several other prizes and activities for the children as well.

“The kids got free lunches, a fishing pole, free books and they got finger prints on a card that they got to take home,” she said

There were also door prizes donated by local sponsors with Austin Cavin winning a bicycle given by WalMart, and Mitchell White winning a boat given by Bryan’s Marine.

For the competition, the children collected fish in the area and got them weighed. Divisions were separated by age groups and fish type.

Bryson won first place in the 2- to 5-year-old bream fish division, and Kole Ashley won in the other category.

In the 6- to 10-year-old bream division, Carlee Short won first, while Logan Chapman took first in the bass fish division and Halley Whitehead won the other category.

For the 11 to 14 year olds, Cassey Brynes won in the bream division, Emily Smith in the bass division and Hunter Barton in the other category.

Will Moffett and Dana Woods were both first place winners in the 15 to 18 age division.

Jones said the tournament had several sponsors to accommodate the large crowd.

“It’s all funded through a D.A.R.E. grant and sponsorships,” Jones said. “We had more than 75 sponsors for the event.”

Jones said most of their volunteers were from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Concordia Parish Correctional Facility, River Correctional Facility, Concordia Parish Work Release and the Concordia Parish Mounted Patrol.

Jones said she has no doubt they’ll continue the fishing tournament for many years to come.