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Fishing Derby biggest yet
Baylen Osden, 6, left, and her younger brother of Richmond Hill admire their catch Saturday at the 20th annual Richmond Hill Fishing Derby sponsored by the Exchange Club of Richmond Hill. - photo by Photo provided.
It was a warm, sun-soaked day Saturday, when the Exchange Club of Richmond Hill sponsored and oversaw its 20th annual Richmond Hill Fishing Derby at the Richmond Hill Fish Hatchery.
Lynn Bennett, the Exchange Club’s Fishing Derby chairman, commented on the derby’s record-breaking attendance.
“Last year we had 286 kids, and we were excited,” she said. “This year we have at least over 350.”
This final count for kids in attendance, not including their families, was about 450 – making this year’s derby by far the largest in the happening’s two decade history.
Even with the massive influx of participation, the hatchery’s pond sides remained comfortably populated and DNR officers kept a keen eye and helping hand extended to the present public.
“We’re so fortunate to be able to use this facility,” Bennett said. “It’s (the fish hatchery) terrific, and the DNR has always been so helpful.”
In addition to free admission, hotdogs, sodas and – for a lucky few – trophies were provided without charge by the Exchange Club and its sponsors. The total cost of the event for the group was $400.
“There just isn’t anything you can do for that amount of money that has such a terrific output,” Bennett said.
Children under 12 were eligible for trophies, with those 6 years of age and under in one bracket, and those over 7 in another. The contested categories being First Fish Caught, won by Bail Williams, 15; Heaviest Fish, won by Bayla Osden, 6, and Joshua Malek, 7; and Total Weight, won by Bayla Osden, 6, and Jamal Samuels, 11. All children who participated in the derby were eligible for door prizes.
Masonic lodge 303, Richmond Hill’s resident branch of Free and Accepted Masons, held its annual Child I.D. Program alongside the derby, as has been their custom for the last four years.
The Child I.D. Program, officially known as GACHIP, allows parents to obtain records of specific information about their child, which can be taken to the police if the child should ever go missing. The record package, which was provided free of charge, includes a voice and video sample of the child, fingerprints, dental mold, DNA sample and a photo.
This year’s derby was the most successful yet, and remains one of Richmond Hill’s most celebrated community outreach programs. The Exchange Club maintains that the derby will continue in the future, and has even set a date for next year; June 4, 2011.

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