River Currents

by Free Speech on July 30, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI
7/30/09
by Gary Engberg
©2009 Gary Engberg Outdoors

Children in the Outdoors

Last Saturday morning my alarm hadn’t gone off yet, but I was awake in bed waiting for the 4:00 am wake-up or my back-up phone call from Wilderness Fish and Game’s Wally Banfi. I get up early, but usually not at this time! Today was the 9th Annual Take an Adult Fishing Tournament at Ace Hardware in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Wally Banfi, Wayne Whitemarsh, Ron Ganser, and Larry Wipperfurth all work at the Wilderness Fish and Game store and also are responsible for much of the “leg-work” done to successfully run an outdoor event for over 125 children and hundreds of parents, family, and friends. It takes consistent work and effort when contacting dozens of companies, organizations, and people to get product give-a ways for the free “goodie bags” that every team receives after tournament registration. Believe me when I say that running a successful fishing tournament of any size takes considerable time, effort, and hard work.

The winners from Take An Adult Fishing Tournamen

The winners from Take An Adult Fishing Tournamen

During these tough economic times, it is even difficult to get donations from corporations in the fishing and outdoor industry. The first area that cutbacks affect is promotions, so it’s difficult to get product or financial aid from even the largest corporations in the outdoor world. In the past, quality events for children and worthy causes usually had no problems in getting equipment and gear for the children. Now, all events, tournaments, and outdoor related activities are battling all other organizations for a limited amount of goods and money. Times are tough everywhere! Larry Wipperfurth and the crew at the Wilderness Fish and Game store somehow managed to get enough products from some great corporations that I’ll mention later in this column. The smart corporations realize what I’ve and so many others have been constantly harping on, children and today’s youth are the future of all outdoor activities and I’m not just talking about fishing or hunting. The “outdoors” encompasses so many and diverse activities that need their introduction to kids at an early age or to use the old cliché, the younger the better for introduction into most if not all outdoor sports and activities.
The “Take an Adult Fishing Tournament” couldn’t have had a nicer or better day for the event. The weather was perfect and the 75 teams had a great day on the water of their choice. Each of the teams had to have at least one adult (parent, guardian, brother, sister, grandparent, etc.) over 18 years of age. The teams had anywhere from 1 to 3 children on their “team”, so there was at least 125 young participants fishing the tournament. The 2:00 pm weigh-in had hundreds of people watching and seeing the “ear to ear” smiles on the many young faces who got to spend hours with a loved one while taking part in a healthy outdoor activity. I never get tired of seeing these smiles and hearing the giggles from these youthful anglers.

Wyat Stout and his winning bass.

Wyat Stout and his winning bass.

There is a core group of individuals who have helped make this event so successful. The group includes; Bob Lochner, the owner of Ace Hardware, who always comes through by sponsoring the event and having his employees help wherever they may be needed. Then, there is the key staff of Larry, Wayne, Wally, and Ron that I mentioned earlier and Yahara Fishing Club President Duffy Kopf, pro angler Jim Kloth, and young and up-coming professional walleye angler, Robert Blosser of Poynette. All of these people could be out doing other things with their families, but instead donate their time and expertise to help in getting more youngsters on the water and promoting outdoor family activities. Guys, like Duffy, Jim, and Robert are regularly helping groups all over southern Wisconsin in similar events. Recently, I’ve seen Duffy and Jim at the Yahara Fishing Club’s Kids Fishing Day, the Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB) event for the physically challenged and disabled individual, and this tournament. For your information, these are events just in the last few weeks and not all that they and many do on a yearly basis! Thanks to all of these people who have made a brighter day for many of todays young and hopefully gotten them “hooked” on fishing.
The hardest part of Saturday may have been getting the children up and at the Ace Hardware parking lot for the 6:00 am registration and rules meeting. But, I had parents saying that their children could barely sleep and were up and ready to go before their parents early Saturday morning. This outdoor event is a summer highlight for many families and with families having to watch expenses more, this local event attracted teams from many surrounding communities including; Lodi, Arena, Spring Green, Dane, Mt. Horeb, Cross Plains, Madison, Middleton, Baraboo, North Freedom, Wisconsin Dells, Mazomanie, Sauk City, Prairie du Sac, Windsor, Waunakee, DeForest, Oregon, Chicago, Illinois, and even Crown Point, Indiana.

Baily Breninger with her winning trout.

Baily Breninger with her winning trout.

All of the teams arrived on time for the 2:00 pm weigh-in and there was an assortment of fish caught in the six categories; bass, walleye, panfish, trout, catfish, and roughfish. Plaques, trophies, and rods and reels were given to the first and second place teams in each fish category. There were fish caught in all of the categories with some very close finishes in the trout and catfish placing. There also as a random drawing for some great prizes and most teams brought home some donated outdoor gear besides the goodie bags given to all teams. The tournament is not for prizes, it is for participating and getting together for a quality outdoor day. The prizes are just “icing’ on the cake!
The winners were; Bass, 1st place Wyatt Stout with a 3.44 pound largemouth bass and 2nd place to Riley Diske with a 3.29 pound largemouth, Walleye, 1st  Garrett Mack with a 1.64 pound walleye and 2nd to Jacob McCaulley with a 1.52 pound sauger, Trout, 1st Bailey Breninger with a 1.0 brown trout and 2nd to Clayton Radl with a .95 of a pound brown trout, Panfish, Autumn McDonald with a 1.05 crappie and 2nd to Trevor Wehler with a .80 of a pound bluegill, Roughfish, 1st place to Erin Frame with a 7.68 carp and 2nd place to Ben German with a 4.97 pound carp, and in the Catfish group, 1st Amanda Attoe with a 4.72 channel catfish and 2nd place to Michael Newcomer with a 3.26 catfish. The accurate measurements were made possible by the use of a scale from Badger Scale.
The groups, individuals, and corporations who made all this possible include; Bob Lochner, the owner of Ace Hardware, Fuchs Trucking, Village of Sauk City, Pepsi, Badger Scale, Zebco, Berkley and Pure Fishing, Fenwick, Grandma’s Fish Breading, Eagle Claw, Rapala, Storm, Mepp’s, Stren, Wisconsin Outdoor News, Off Shore Tackle, Shimano, Carlson Sports, Rocket Bobbers, WTDY Radio, Outdoor Horizons Radio, Mueller Sports Medicine, Don Becker Law Office, National Professional Anglers Association members Jim Kloth, Wally Banfi, Robert Blosser, and Gary Engberg, Jerry Volbrecht (who donates 15 rods and reels every year), all the Wilderness Fish and Game staff, and Deputy Warden Greg Stacey of the Wisconsin DNR. Greg had a great display of invasive species that have been introduced into Wisconsin waters and he explained how to keep from spreading non-native plants by proper boat and livewell cleaning. If I missed anyone I apologize.
This was a fantastic event for all who came and participated in enjoying the great outdoors in Wisconsin. I’m sure that this experience will enhance all fishers and their families from another healthy, enjoyable, and fun event which will hopefully get more people “hooked’ for life.

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