The Ron Ron Victor Annual Fishing Derby, held annually in Springfield Township, honors Victor's memory. Begun nine years ago, the derby is dedicated to fostering a love of fishing in the next generation.
Fish were jumpin’ at the Ron Victor Annual Fishing Derby Aug. 3.
Joe Holsopple Lead Detective of the Springfield Police Department and coordinator of the event said it was a perfect day for fishing. The sun was out to greet the 65 early-morning fishermen – all of them children.
The event is named in honor of officer Ron Victor who started the derby nine years ago. When he passed away in 2008 Holsopple took over as coordinator. Each derby honor’s Victor’s dedication to the event and to local children.
Perry Keeling and Devon Keeling have volunteered each year to weigh-in and count the fish caught by students.
“This year, the sun decided to shine” Perry Keeling said. “Last year, it was cold and the wind was bad.”
Holsopple said last year’s August event brought 43-degree weather, gusting winds and misty rain. When he arrived at 5:30 a.m. for this year’s event it was pouring down rain and he gave thoughts of canceling. He was thrilled, however, to see skies clear in time for the event to go on.
To keep children engaged in the event, each of the participants are given buckets to fill with fish. This keeps them from having run each fish individually to the volunteers for counting and weighing.
Trophies are awarded for most fish caught and biggest fish caught. Kenneth French was awarded the trophy for the most fish caught and Grayson Hoover reeled-in the largest fish.
At noon, all participants have pizza and juice.
“Everyone here gets a prize,” Holsopple said. “And then there is a drawing for the grand prize of a really nice rod and reel and a tackle box filled with fishing stuff.”
Alydia Reeves won the grand prize.
Holsopple added that Giant Eagle is always there to help and they had treats of gummy worms and fish-shaped cookies for the kids.
“It is really something to see all the prizes they give out,” Perry Keeling said.
Spending some time to help out Wild Carp Club of Ohio members Richie Eldridge and Bill Syler.
Eldridge tried his hand at fishing, too, and, when he had a big fish on the line, he would let the kids reel it in.
“We have already managed to catch a duck,” Eldridge said.
Eldridge added that most of the larger fish in Springfield Lake weigh between 8 to 10 pounds.
“The kids will have a blast if we get one of those on the line,” Eldridge said.
It’s those little things that make the free fishing events a success. Each helps to engage children in the sport and encourage them to continue fishing as they grow older.
Page 2 of 2 - “What got me fishing was someone had me reel a carp in when I little,” Eldridge said. “I have been hooked ever since.”
Club members set up rod holders and multiple rods. Alarms sounded when a fish was on the line and the children were enthralled by the strategy. Club members also showed the young participants some of the methods they use in tournaments such as the 75-hour New York event from which Eldridge and Syler had just returned.
“We just come out to help the kids,” said Eldridge.