Community Youth Fishing Derby fun for all

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Take one part bright and sunny New Mexico morning, add one part Escondida Lake stocked with over 2,400 fish, fold in 294 moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, kids of all ages, mix thoroughly with prizes, good food and add a huge dash of community spirit. What do you have? The annual Socorro Community Youth Fishing Derby, which was held last Saturday.

Lisa Alvarado/El Defensor Chieftain: John Vigil relaxed in the sun, while his grandson, Andrew Garcia-Vigil practiced his fishing skills at the annual Socorro fishing derby, held at Escondida lake, March 31. Along with learning how to properly bait a hook, Grandpa Vigil hopes the lessons of patience and perseverance will also be a result of time like this spent together.

First place in the girl’s division was won by Lexie McConnell for a 14-inch fish, and first place among the boys was snagged by Shayton Atwood, for his 13.75-inch fish. Both winners received mountain bikes, courtesy of Ernest and Ernestine Silva.

McConnell and Atwood both agreed that the event was “really fun.” Atwood went on record to say his new bike was “cool,” and McConnell said she would give it a test spin, “first thing when I get home.”

Fun and Cooperation

Starting at 8 a.m., anglers of all ages shared fun and tested their rod and reel techniques to see who could make their fish story come true. In typical Socorroan fashion, volunteers came together to make the event a success. Socorro County Chamber of Commerce Director Terry Tadano was busy behind the scenes, making sure the event ran like a well-oiled machine.

City councilor Pete Romero, sporting a bright orange T-shirt and a U.S. Marine Corp baseball cap, acted as master of ceremonies and all-around cheerleader.

“This is all about community,” said Romero. “Terry (Tadano) has really been great, making sure that we’re well-stocked with quality prizes.”

Tadano worked with Joe Vallejos from www.Maurice.net, a sporting goods distributor, and the local Walmart to make sure that each youth fisherman received premium bait. Other prizes included reels, rods, nets, and Barbie-themed items for the distaff fishing enthusiasts.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such consistent support of this event,” said Tadano.

Socorro Bass Club President Walter Robinson and Secretary George Lucero painstakingly weighed and measured the entries, and made sure the even littlest fisherman got big time encouragement.

“The Bass Club has been fantastic, they’re one of the main reasons this event is what it is, ” praised Tadano.

The DAV was in full force as well, with Ed Chase, Commander-Elect Vidal Moya and current Commander Paul Drake manning the grill and making sure hungry sportsmen and spectators were well-fed. All youth received a free hot dog lunch, and adults were charged a modest $1.

“All the proceeds from sales go to help fund next year’s event,” said Drake.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the DAV,” according to Tadano. “They deserve all the credit they can get.”

Real Fish Story

The morning was filled with smiles and laughter, family groupings of all sorts enjoying the weather, the sport and each other.

John Vigil relaxed in the sun, while his grandson, Andre Garcia-Vigil plied his piscatorial talent.

“I enjoy spending time with my grandson. This is a good way to be together. But this isn’t just a sport,” said Vigil. “I want Andrew to learn some things…things like patience and attention to detail. That’s not just part of fishing, that’s part of life,” He interrupted the conversation for a moment, “Hold on, Andy, re-bait first.”

 


-- Email the author at lalvarado@dchieftain.com.