The old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”
That’s the purpose of the Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, says Ruthie Robinson, a member of the Itta Bena Community Outreach, which co-sponsors the event with Mississippi Valley State University and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
“That’s why we do this every year,” she said. “It’s not just about coming together and having fun. That’s a big part of it, but we’re also teaching them a life skill. We’re teaching them a skill they can take on into their adulthood. It teaches them motor skills. It teaches them to think. It teaches them patience. It teaches them a lot of things that they can apply throughout their life.”
The 2019 Kids’ Fishing Rodeo will be held Saturday on the Itta Bena campus of Mississippi Valley State University. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m., and the event will be held from 7 to 11 a.m.
The annual fishing event is free and open to all children age 15 and younger.
“It’s not just open to children in Itta Bena or the Greenwood area; it’s open to any child who wants to experience the joy of fishing,” said Robinson.
Children attending should be accompanied by an adult, who must sign in. Many times, families come out to enjoy a morning of fishing together.
“We have parents bringing their children out, and we have grandparents bringing their grandchildren out,” said Robinson. “It’s just a time for them to bond and come together.”
Organizers say the event is always well attended.
“We get an enormous amount of children,” said Robinson. “We expect at least 100 every year, and we get very close to that. Last year, we got close to about 90. I’m looking for even more this year.”
Prizes will be awarded to each child who catches a tagged fish. There will be 15 tagged fish. All children participating will receive a certificate and a “happy” to take home.
Every child who catches a fish gets to take it home. The pond is filled mostly with catfish.
Children attending are encouraged to bring cane poles, bait and even a bucket to store the fish they catch.
“It’s old fashioned fishing,” said Robinson.
Safety instructions will be provided prior to the event, which is supervised by Wildlife and Fisheries officers.
Adults will be able to fish after 11 a.m., and all adults under age 65 must have fishing licenses.
An archery group will be participating again this year, and there will also be a large fish display, where children can take pictures.
The event always includes many volunteers, such as Mississippi Valley State athletes and students. Also volunteering this year will be Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Big Bucks Motorcycle Club, among others.
“Having kids come out and learn a new life skill and the enjoyment of fishing is a really good thing,” said Robinson. “We want all children to come on out and join us that morning. … They have fun every year.”
For more information, call Robinson at 704-0457, Thelma Collins at 254-7316 or Terrance Hurssey at 392-3196.
• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.