The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 4, 2013

Family tradition: Derby draws avid anglers to Meadowlake

By Jessica Salmond, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The July 4 festivities began for some early in the morning at Meadowlake Park for the fishing derby. A few avid fishers arrived around 5 a.m.

Hundreds of anglers showed up to compete and just to have fun. Young, old, beginners and experienced: everyone could give it a try.

Marilyn Crow brought four of her grandchildren to the park to fish.

“I want to make it a tradition,” she said. Crow has older grandchildren that she took to the fishing derby when they were young.

It was several of the children’s first times fishing, but Crow said they were catching the idea.

“I hope we’ll be out here a while,” she said.

A small fish earned a pop or a toy for the kids who caught them. Volunteers with Liberty Federal Savings Bank manned two shelters at the lake and helped fishers measure their catches. Measured fish were in line for the derby winner. The first place winner received a trophy and $100, and the 5 other top winners received a trophy and $20. Door prizes were given away every half hour, from fishing poles to tackle boxes. H&H Bait Shop provided the prizes and trophies.

Theresa Howard, executive administrative assistant at Liberty Federal Savings Bank, said there was a “good turnout this year.”

“Can’t ask for better weather,” Howard said. “The last couple years it’s been pretty hot.”

For Shannon and Colton Williams, coming to the fishing derby in Enid has been a custom for the father-son pair from Green Valley. The two have come together since Colton, now 12, was a young child. Besides the fishing derby, Shannon and Colton go to local lakes as well.

“It will be girls before long, but for now it’s fish,” Williams said, laughing. “Might as well fish while you can every day.”

By 9 a.m., Shannon had caught the biggest catfish measured so far at 27 inches long. Williams said he used chicken liver for bait.

Williams said he used to fish with his grandfather. After he grew up, his interests shifted until his son, Colton, began to want to fish and hunt. Colton “fired it back up” for him, Williams said.

Colton placed third in the derby with a 19-inch fish, one of the first years he competed, Williams said. On July Fourth, Shannon caught a 27-inch catfish.

“It’s become a good tradition for a lot of families,” said Doug Parker, executive vice president for Liberty Federal Savings Bank.