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home : features : nature May 24, 2016

6/12/2013 6:00:00 AM
Free fishing day draws smiling crowd
Throngs of children and their family members attended the Fishing for Smiles Day this year.ZEN MOCARSKI/Courtesy
Throngs of children and their family members attended the Fishing for Smiles Day this year.

Don Martin
The Great Outdoors

Even though it was one of the warmest days of the year, almost 100 kids and up to three times many parents, guardians and family joined together Saturday for the annual Fishing For Smiles event at Dunton Pond.

And judging from all the smiles and laughter, just about every child out there got to experience the feeling of a hard-fighting channel catfish tugging on a line.

This annual event is the result of a partnership of the Kingman Elks Lodge No. 468 with the Mohave Sportsman Club and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

A grant awarded to the MSC provided funding for the event, while members of the Kingman Elks Lodge provided all the staff.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (Region III) had a strong presence with staff providing rods and reels, hooks, sinkers and bait.

Members of the Mohave Junior Bass Club also supported the event. A number of members there helping out other kids. Wally Mueller, the youth director for the club, has had members assisting for the past two years.

Becky Peck and Ammon Wilhelm from the Bureau of Land Management brought a wildlife display that included a number of snakes and even a Gila monster, the largest lizard in Arizona.

This year, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society was represented at the event. Page McDonald gave out Frisbees and temporary ADBSS tattoos to the kids. There was also a skull and horns of a large desert bighorn ram on display so the kids could see what they look like.

The Dunton family, which includes Roy, Scot and Scotty, were all on hand and said they were glad for the great turnout.

They pledged that the kids could fish there in the future.

This is the second year that this event has taken place at the Fort Rock Ranch, which is owned by the Dunton family.

Earl Hamlyn's Channel 57 camera crew was on site. Watch this week to see all of the smiles, giggles and laughter that were videotaped.

Local bass fishing phenom Shane Moline, who is part of the Nitro Pro Staff and Bass Pro Shops, and his fishing partner, Tina Kennedy, were also on hand to pass out about a 1,000 plastic fishing lures known as Gitzits that had been donated by local lure manufacturer Canyon Plastics.

The Elks Club cooking staff provided an all-you-could-eat lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs, along with all the fixings, and cold drinks and dessert free of charge.

This is the one fishing event where everything is free and no one is asked for any kind of donation.

It is a win-win event for the kids, their parents, and the community. In today's rush-rush world it was nice to see local families spending quality time out at the pond with their children.

The Kingman Elks Lodge Fishing For Smiles Committee includes Jerry Grimes, Bob Kay and Bill Shilling.

All were pleased with how the event turned out and they are already starting to make plans for the 2014 Fishing For Smiles event.

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