LOXLEY — Last Saturday was a perfect day for the annual Loxley Optimist Club fishing rodeo for children. A gentle breeze ruffled the blue water of the lake and the sun heightened the smell of the freshly cut grass at the Dean Black family lake in …
LOXLEY — Last Saturday was a perfect day for the annual Loxley Optimist Club fishing rodeo for children. A gentle breeze ruffled the blue water of the lake and the sun heightened the smell of the freshly cut grass at the Dean Black family lake in Loxley.
All around the lake, families had staked out a place where they hoped the children could catch a lot of fish, as Loxley Mayor Billy Middleton, who is a member of the Optimist Club, cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for everybody.
Excitement was in the air as 43 area children under the age of 13 were baiting their hooks with worms, crickets and artificial bait. Mothers, daddies and grandparents were helping the pint-sized contestants.
Danny Salter, who lives at Styx River, was helping his daughters, Carol Ann, 7, and Carrie, 3. The girls proudly showed off their bucket of fish. Carrie held up the catfish that weighed in at 2 1/2 pounds. Carol Ann proudly announced that she won the prize last year for the most fish caught.
“We really enjoy this ever year. It gives the kids something good to do and we enjoy it,” Salter said.
Mary Darby, 7, of Rosinton had a bucket full of fish and she said, “Daddy’s going to clean them and mama’s going to cook them tonight!”
Three boys from the Rosinton area were well equipped with a tackle box full of gear, as well as live bait. Austin Wallace, 9, Cole Rogers, 10, and Dylan Nelson, 10, said they were having fun and were proud of the fish they had caught.
Derek Middleton praised the Optimist Club members for the annual event, noting that it is something that families look forward to each year. “They do a good job of this and it’s a good thing for the children,” he said, as he watched his children fish.
Members of the club organize the event, solicit door prizes, buy the trophies, prepare a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks, provide the bait, weigh the fish and tally the catch from each child.
At 11 a.m. fishing stopped and Gordon Dyess and Tom Hammitte began to tally the number and sizes of fish caught by each participant. Carrie Salter with her big catfish won for the biggest fish caught and Gary Mosely, who caught 27 fish won for the most fish caught.
Joseph Shaw, club president, said they try to give each child a trophy, and he praised the dedication of those in the club who organize the event and said the club is very grateful to the Dean Black family for letting them hold the rodeo at the lake each year.
“This is one of our favorite events. Everybody is always excited about the fishing rodeo and it’s so rewarding to see how much fun the children and their families are having,” he said.
The Optimist Mission Statement say, “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids” and the Loxley club takes that statement to heart.
They not only sponsor the fishing rodeo, but they also sponsor the annual Christmas parade and provide Christmas festivities for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Boys Ranch.
“I’m very proud to be a member of the Optimist Club,” he said.
The club meets each Thursday at the Loxley United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. and Show said anybody who is interested in becoming a member is invited to attend.
“If they come and join us, they can be part of this next year and be part of the fun,” he said, with a laugh.