Fishing, fun and sun…it’s all ‘golden’ at the 50th Annual Sheriff’s Department Fishing Derby – Shaw Local

MORRISON — The weather was inviting and the fish were pungent, a perfect combination for the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office’s Golden Anniversary and the Mounted Patrol Youth Fishing Derby.

Sheriff John Booker was all smiles on Saturday, Sept. 9, when he presided over the popular event along the shore of Lake Carlton in Morrison-Rookwood State Park.

“We have about 100 kids here today,” Booker said of the morning event. “This is the 50th year we’ve been running the Derby. Everyone goes home with a prize, whether they catch a fish or not. We’ve been doing this for 50 years for our guys. I haven’t seen a single kid not smiling today.”

“It’s a great way to bring the kids and their families together with us in an environment to have some fun.”

Deputies interacted with the kids as they cast their lines, brought fish of all sizes to the judging table, and even helped them choose prizes.

Chief Deputy Jeff Veenhuizen jokingly suggested a toddler tool box to Tyler Huizinga, 11, of Fulton as he perused a table full of prizes.

“I’ve been trying to give that to all the older kids, and no luck so far,” he said.

Tyler was also adamantly refusing, choosing football instead.

Participants chose the award after their names were drawn randomly during the event.

On the bank next to the awards table, Donald Topp, of Sterling, used his “grandfather’s fishing prowess” when he entered Lake Carlton to reel in a largemouth bass and perch caught by his grandsons Christopher and Avery Holcomb, ages 13 and 9.

Tanner Dean of Rock Falls held his 1-year-old daughter, Blake, as she received a new set of fishing gear and a trophy for her catch. “We’ve now upgraded from Barbie’s pole,” Tanner said with a smile, holding up Blake’s new pole and tackle box as she tottered with the shiny trophy.

Grand prizes were also awarded for the largest fish (by length) in each category, as well as special prizes for individual efforts. At the end of the competition, names were drawn in each age group to receive the grand prizes, which were new bicycles.

6-year-old Easton Morin, of Albany, wasted no time taking his new wheels for a spin in the parking lot.

The derby was started in 1973 by then-Sheriff Butch Kimmel. “He had a great desire to help young people and so has every other sheriff since then in our county,” Booker said as he presented a plaque to the Kimmel family.

“I don’t speak as loudly as my father,” Jeff Kimmel said as he and his sister Patricia received the plaque commemorating his late father. “Fifty years… I’m sure my father didn’t think this would last. Thank you very much.”

Kimmel said his father was very “kid-oriented” and created the event as a youth activity.

“The goal was to give them something to do,” said Kimmel, now a Marengo resident. “He said if you teach a kid to fish, he’ll always have something to do.”

Kimmel said his father was an avid fisherman. “We hunted and fished together. We did a lot of things together.”

“Through all of these sheriffs, we had a dedicated mounted patrol that worked closely with all of the sheriffs,” Booker said as he also presented a plaque to the patrol members.

“I would also like to thank all of our volunteers, many of whom are Sheriff’s Department employees and former Sheriff’s Department employees, who volunteer their time. Most importantly all of the parents and grandparents who bring their kids out here to hunt with us. We enjoy this. … This is the best time in the world.” year for us.

Former Sheriff Roger “Skip” Schipper was also honored.

“I don’t know why I got this, because I missed one,” Schipper joked. “This is a great tradition. Have the kids fishing instead of standing on the street corner and we’ll have great kids. And we have great kids in Whiteside County.”

Kelly Wilhelmi, Booker’s immediate predecessor, echoed these sentiments. “It’s been a great honor to keep the fishing derby going. I talked to a lot of kids today whose parents were in it. It’s kind of neat, it’s a generational thing.”

“I really had the pleasure of working for about a year and a half with Sheriff Kimmel in 1988 and 1989,” Wilheme said.

(Tags for translation)Morrison

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