D.A.R.E. fishing registration starts Monday

Published 12:01 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

NATCHEZ — Hundreds of the Miss-Lou’s youngest anglers will grab their tackle boxes and rods next weekend to compete for the honor of being named 2011 D.A.R.E. Fishing Tournament champions.

Registration for the 21st annual Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office/Miss-Lou Merchants D.A.R.E. Youth Fishing Tournament begins Monday and will be open until Friday. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday.

“We expect hundreds (of participants),” Kathleen Stevens, public information officer for the Sheriff’s office, said. “We have had as many as 700 one year, and we were down to 600 last year.”

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Stevens said the tournament is a special event for the children, their parents and grandparents.

“Children fish with grandparents or parents, just about anyone they like,” she said. “It’s a great day of fun for the children. The kids come to the weigh-in exhausted but smiling. They weigh-ins are fantastic. The kids are so happy when they catch the fish.”

Stevens said the tournament is also an event the Sheriff’s office looks forward to each year.

“It’s very special for us,” she said. “Some of us have been doing it almost as long as the tournament itself. It’s been here a long time, and we all look forward to it.”

Registration is $6 per child, and children ages 2-18 can participate. Each child will receive a T-shirt, trophy and a prize, and the top three finishers in each age group will receive trophies as well. The age groups are ages 2-5, 6-10, 11-14 and 15-18.

Stevens said the money raised goes to the D.A.R.E. program.

“Any money raised after (tournament expenses) goes to the D.A.R.E. program for children all around the parish. The D.A.R.E. program is so excellent,” she said.

The weigh-in will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Vidalia Riverfront CPSO. Fishing sites include Lakes Concordia and St. John, Old River-Vidalia, Old River-Deer Park, Black River Lake, Four Rivers-Jonesville and the Natchez State Park Lake.

Stevens said the weigh-in is a great experience for the children and their families.

“The kids need to come to weigh-in,” she said. “Even if they don’t catch a fish or they only catch a teeny-tiny fish they still get prizes no matter what. There are participation trophies and books for the younger children and fishing related prizes. They do need to come to the weigh-in and wear their shirts.”

Registration forms are available at 10 registration sites or online at www.concordiasheriff.org. Online registration forms must be submitted at one of the 10 registration sites.

The Concordia Parish D.A.R.E. program began in 1991. Stevens said the fishing tournament is one of the program’s main events, along with D.A.R.E. graduation when the children finish the class work.

The 10 registration sites are: Concordia Bank & Trust, Monterey; Concordia Bank & Trust, Vidalia; Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Vidalia; CPSO Monterey Substation; Concordia Sentinel, Ferriday; Sports Center/Rex Sporting Goods, Natchez; Tensas State Bank, Ferriday; Catahoula/LaSalle Bank, Jonesville; CPSO Doty Road Substation, Ferriday and Bryan’s Marine, Vidalia.