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Articles & Local History > 2011 - Fishing Derby

by Denise McLoughlin

3rd Annual Fishing Derby is another success!
In 2009, the Hennepin Canal celebrated it's centennial year. Area towns planned all kinds of activities along the canal and feeder in celebration of this historic event. Shirley Lester, one of Tampico's leading citizens and always up front and at the ready for a new challenges, attended some of the planning committee meetings. When she heard that some were planning a fishing derby, she decided it was something that Tampico could easily incorporate. The canal has always played a significant role in Tampico's history, so the idea was well-received.

Shirley seems to have a Midas Touch when it comes to getting others involved, whether it's as a volunteer or for donations, she is your go-to gal. She and husband Don coordinated the first annual Fishing Derby as part of the '09 Canal Centennial Celebration.

Saturday, June 25 was the 3rd annual Derby, held on the feeder at Rt 172. It's a great family fun day. Tables are manned with many volunteers, either signing the children in, preparing worms, weighing fish or at a table displaying free promotional items for them to take home. When asked how she manages to coordinate it so smoothly and maintain her sanity, she instantly replies that it's not really a problem at all. The hardest part is the setting up/tearing down,  but she has great volunteers that help her and Don load up the cars and trucks and then unload and set up. Two young men, Adam Thiem and Travis Wranglin have provided the extra muscle every year.

Sixty children signed in and received their official number. If needed, fishing poles and bait are provided at no charge. Each time a child catches one, they bring it over to be weighed and logged in. At the end, the children are broken down into three age brackets and a first, second and third place is given in each category, provided a fish was caught in that group.. First place in each category was a shiny new bike!

But wait, there's more. There were some very nice door prizes drawn from the remaining names. This year's Grand Prize was a 4-person tent, won by Bobby Sanford. Other door prizes included swim passes to Prophetstown Park District, RF DQ & miniature golf passes, including a pass for 5 mini golf games in Rock Falls, Value meal & custard at the RF Culvers, Slip 'N Slide Water Slide, Soak 'N Splassh Water Slide, combo game set, small folding chairs - one red, one blue. The winners were: McKenzie Glassburn, Joe Lindy, Aaron Wetzell, Taylor Wetzell, Wylee Church, Trenton Burgess, Cassie Burgess, Owen Livingston, Payton Glassburn, George Davis, Taylor Tieman andBrady Abell.

This year's winners in the 1 - 6 Yr. Old Group:
1st Place, Cars Bike - Wylee Church
2nd Place, Toy Story Motion Video Game - Joe Lindy
3rd Place, Mouse Trap Game - Reva Myers

7 - 10 Yr. Old Group:
1st Place, Green BMX Bike - Cameron Abell
2nd Place, Microphone & AMP - McKenzie Glassburn
3rd Place, Bounce Bop-it Game - Hannah Church

11 - 15 Yr. Old Group:
1st Place - Blue 24" Mountain Bike - Cameron Tieman
No one else caught a fish in this age group.

Every one received coupon for free slice of Pizza from Casey's, goodie bag from DNR & miscellaneous give-aways from DNR on Fish.

Shirley and Don did not want anyone to go home empty handed, so the rest of the names that did not win any prizes are called off to select a gift from a couple of tables filled with more prizes. This year, they were able to select two gifts each.

The Derby starts at at 9a.m. and ends at 11:30, so she also serves them free hot dogs, chips and beverage.

You can't beat that deal; fishing, food, fun and gifts and all free! The Lesters are surely helping build child-hood memories and 20 years from now, I just know you'll hear some dad (or mom) standing on the banks of the canal with their little one telling of the fun they had "back in the day" of Tampico Festival Days at the Fishing Derby. Mark my words!


TAMPICO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - MUSEUM - FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY/RESEARCH CENTER  119 Main St., P. O. Box 154,  Tampico, IL  61283   www.tampicohistoricalsociety.com   tampicoareahistory@gmail.com  We are an all-volunteer organization so your donations are always appreciated!  Sign up to receive our e-newsletter. Thank you!  Visit us on FACEBOOK.