The official is calling time—then, one of the participants shouts, “Wait!” They are reeling in a fish that could’ve been a record breaker on many levels. After the fish breaks the water, he runs his fish across the field to be weighed and measured. Officially making it the last fish caught.
This was the final scene of the Outdoor Recreation Fishing Tournament that took place on Sept. 23 at Pleasant View Park. Steve Walton, graduate assistant for outdoor recreation, was the main coordinator during the event and wanted to add something different to this year’s list of events.
“We want to promote the fish and wildlife aspect of outdoor recreation,” Walton said. “A lot of people think outdoor rec is just biking, hiking, camping but there is much more to it than that.”
From what Walton understands outdoor rec hasn’t done anything like this before and, “being a fish and wildlife major,” he thinks it is important to promote events like this. He plans on making this an annual event.
He said he will use this year as his learning curve to help improve future year’s events. This event is open not just to Tech- staff, faculty and students- but also to the community of Russellville.
“It’s a good bonding time for families, friends and for people to get to know new people,” Walton said.
The event did not hold the traditional top three trophy spots; instead they created three categories with two trophies for each one. The first category was time, first and last fish caught trophy; the second was size, longest and shortest fish trophy; and last was weight, heaviest and lightest fish trophy.
Walton and Kerry Shannon, coordinator of campus recreation, determined who won based off of catch sheets. One of the determining rules was once someone won a trophy, they were ineligible for another one. They decided this to give more people a chance at a trophy.
The winners were: First fish caught- Dale Quaid; Last fish caught- Avery Parsons (his older brother Sol had the record breaking last fish but he had already qualified for another trophy); Longest fish- Tre Quaid; Shortest fish- Sol Parsons; Heaviest fish- Brad Moore; and Lightest fish- Porter Ouzts. Additional items, such as tackle boxes, water bottles and T-shirts, were available for the winners and other participants to grab.
“I came here to fish with my son and enjoy this time,” Nick Ouzts, graphic design alumnus, said.
About a dozen people attended this year’s event, with varying ages, genders and ability. The event was free to attend and Walton says that’s the plan for next year. They also offered a fishing license station, as a convenience, for participants to use to obtain an emailed copy of their license at no charge (only the $10.50 the state charges). For more information about Campus Recreation contact Steven Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you didn’t make it out this year keep an eye open for next year because we want to do this every year,” Walton said.