Kids’ Trout Derby Has all the Hallmarks of a True Family Event

At least 300 children and their families converged on Lawson Pond in Forkston Township on May 21 for the annual North Branch Kid’s Trout Derby. Guests came from near and far to reel in trout and other fish, like Kayla O’Donnell (above, back, left) and Mark Chudoba (right), who lent a helping hand to brothers Cameron Baloh and Colton Baloh. Other youths took to nearby Mehoopany Creek (below) where mentors assisted them with fly fishing.

Photos and Commentary by Rick Hiduk

(exclusive to readers)

Yes, the heat was building last Saturday as the parking lot filled up and open spaces around Lawson Pong became fewer at the annual Kid’s Trout Derby coordinated by the North Branch Trout Derby Association (NBTDA). But I never really heard anyone complain about it, because it was an otherwise beautiful day after a long and dreary winter.

Activity was spread out on both sides of Windy Valley Road, with the main event focused on the stocked pond and the pavilion areas where food, other activities, and chances to win great prizes abounded. I was happy to soak in the sunshine with everybody else and enjoy their exuberance and good will.

I wasn’t sure until the day before that I would be able to attend. Since I hadn’t really committed to any one publication, I decided to play the role of the roving reporter. I simply walked the grounds snapping photos as I moved along. NBTDA president Bruce Pitts was kind enough to announce my presence from the “captain’s chair” so that people were more than accommodating.

My goal was to try to capture as many aspects of this wonderful event from as many angles as possible. Given the randomness of my approach, some people may see themselves in numerous shots, while others may wonder how I missed them. More than a few people have told me since then that they saw me and, though I did come across many familiar faces, I’m sure that I missed others.

What I witnessed was a well-oiled machine. These folks have done this enough years to know how to manage every element of it with relative ease. I’m sure that most kids spent some time at the pond, but there were so many other things for them to do as well, like target shooting, archery and balloon sculpting. And FWM Rescue was on hand to demonstrate some basics to kids about the work they do.

According to Bruce, participation was down by just 20 kids from 2021, but overall attendance was up because they were accompanied by more family members than what had been recommended last year when the pandemic was a greater concern. On Sunday, however, the number of veterans and kids with special needs was up significantly. A change in venue may have actually helped NBTDA elevate the event to a new level.

When all was said and done, proceeds were considered more than adequate to cover the costs of this fall’s youth pheasant hunt and provide some seed money for next year’s trout derby. Bruce also said that the ice cream truck was a great success. Wait. Ice cream truck? How did I miss that?!

Except for the feature photos above, the following photos are posted in the order that I took them. There are also several video clips at the very end.

Here is a list of this year’s winning anglers:

5 and under

1st – Ryker Krause

2nd – Blake Furman

3rd – Bennett Bishop

4th – Cole Murdoch

6 to 7 year olds

1st – Cashton Crouse

2nd – Wyatt Macheska

3rd – Kenzie Fornier

4th – Westin Bishop

8 to 10 year olds

1st – Michael Knapek

2nd – Tyler Krolguski

3rd – Ella Banta-Hass

4th – Christina Loiselle

11 to 12 year olds

1st – Kevin Culver

2nd – Kaleb Fath

3rd – Kyle Culver

4th – Ainsley Krogulski

13 to 16 year olds

1st – Chase Krogulski

2nd – Peyton Price

3rd – Adiana Krause

4th – Jayden Laubach

Video Links:

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  1. Awesome job. Great photos and article

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