By Faye Gaston

The Bullock County Annual Kids' Fishing Derby was held at Wehle Land Conservation Center on Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. noon. This included fishing, lunch and the awards ceremony.

One thousand pounds of cat-fish had been loaded in the pond waters to make catching fish more probable for the kids.

Each kid had their string of fish weighed, were given a rod-and-reel, and enjoyed a hot dog lunch. County Commissioner Don Larkins prayed the blessing.

An enlarged copy of a check was displayed and presented, it was for $4,299.00 to the Bullock County Social Justice Foundation for the "Bullock County Kids' Fishing Derby, 2019" from the Mid-South RC&D Council, Montgomery, Alabama.

Tracy Larkins was the M.C. for the awards ceremony that began with remarks by public officials. State Senator Billy Beasley said it was "a great turn-out for fishing and having fun".

He explained that State Representative Berry Forte was attending a funeral and could not attend this event. William Hodge, speaking for the State and National RC & D, said the fishing derby was "a good thing for good people".

Dolly Blue, a member of the Midway Town Council and Saint T. Thomas, Jr., Mayor of Union Springs, represented Mildred Whittington, Mayor of Midway (absent due to illness) in giving a welcome to this event at Whele Center, near the town of Midway.

Bullock County Commissioners Henry Barnett, John McGowan and Don Larkins spoke their appreciation for this event M.C. Larkins noted that this was the 3rd fishing derby and 90 youth were in attendance. Each received a rod-and-reel from the 100 on display.

The name of Keldrick Fields was drawn to win "life-time fishing privileges". Each fishing winner in four age groups received a trophy, rod-and-reel, tackle box, a cap, a frizbee, and a souvenir mug. First place winners also received a bicycle!

Winners were as follows: Age 6 and under: 1st Place, Allen Wray of Phoenix City, AL; 2nd Place, Tia Marshall of Clayton, AL; and 3rd Place, Jaceon Relf of Midway, AL.

Ages 7- 9: 1st Place, Hunter Howard of Phenix City, AL; 2nd Place, Jazzmane Tarver of Tuskegee, AL; and 3rd Place, Ann Martin of Phenix City, AL.

Ages 10-12: 1st Place, Jalen Still of Union Springs, AL; 2nd Place, Kamari Tellis of Midway, AL; and 3rd Place, Tamiaya Deloach of Eufaula, AL.

Ages 13-15: 1st Place, Lazayvion Williams of Union Springs, AL; 2nd Place, Keldrick King of Union Springs, AL; and 3rd Place, Matthew Ellis of Union Springs, AL.

A prize was awarded to De'Shanae Monday of Union Springs, AL for catching the smallest fish and a prize was awarded to Keldrick King of Union Springs, AL for catching the largest fish.

In closing, Larkins expressed appreciation for the partnership and sponsors that contributed to the Derby's success to include the Department of Conservation, Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries, Alabama Coastal Conservation of Alabama, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, Professional Bass Angler Levy Scott of Florida, RCD Board and Staff, Wehle Nature Center, Neighborhood Cookers, Lisa Smith of Hicks Inc, Adam's Family, Jinks, Crow, and Dickson, Eufaula High School Bass Team, Union Springs AG, Peachburg Plantation, and the hard working CAMO (Children and Mentors Outdoors) board members.

Mr. Wood, Conservation Mentor and Advocate, assembled a crowd for a group photo to end the event.

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