A chance to win prizes, a free lunch, 20 chances to win special prizes and three hours of fishing for the more than 2,000 catfish already in the water await the school age anglers who will take part in the JAKES Fishing Rodeo on Saturday, May 19 at Foster Park Lake.
On Thursday afternoon, with the assistance of SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and City of Union personnel, a representative of Georgia Select Fish Farm placed approximately 2,200 catfish into Foster Park Lake. The company was hired by SCDNR to provide the fish for the JAKES Fishing Rodeo sponsored by the city and the Union County Recreation Department. The rodeo will be held from 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, May 19 and fishing is banned at the lake until after the event. Anyone attempting to fish in the lake before then will be ticketed.
Union County Recreation Department Director Becky Cobb said the fishing rodeo is only for children and that adults will not be permitted to fish unless they are accompanying a child.
“This is for the children, the children of school age,” Cobb said. “Adults will not be permitted to fish during the rodeo unless they have a child with them.”
Cobb said the rodeo will be held rain or shine and that registration will be from 8-8:45 a.m. at the park the day of the event. She said anyone who wants to take part in the rodeo must register, adding that in addition to being able to fish during the rodeo, those who register will also have the opportunity to win prizes provided by the recreation department and the city.
“We will have a table set up where everyone will register and fill out a form, because we want all the children registered,” Cobb said. “Once they are registered, the children will be given prize tickets and lunch tickets. There will be a free lunch served all those with lunch tickets. The Union Public Safety Department is cooking the lunch for the kids. It will be served at noon.”
Cobb said the prize tickets will give the children the opportunity to register for prizes that will be on display in one of the park’s picnic shelters. The prizes will include bicycles, tents, sleeping bags, fishing gear, tackle boxes, and other outdoor activity items. Each child will have three tickets which Cobb said they can use for either three chances at one prize or divide them among more than one prize.
In addition to the prizes being provided by the city and the recreation department, Cobb said there will be special prizes provided by the SCDNR. Before the catfish were placed in the lake Thursday, 20 of them were tagged. Cobb said anyone who catches a tagged fish will receive one of the special SCDNR prizes.
Cobb said the rodeo has grown in popularity every year that it has been held and is not only attracting growing numbers of children, but also organizations seeking to reach out to children.
“It has grown every year, last year we registered 600 children,” Cobb said. “Union County Recycling will be there. Some fire trucks will there. The Union National Guard is providing a rock wall for the children to climb.”
If any children tire of fishing, Cobb said there will be plenty of other activities during the rodeo.
For more information about the JAKES Fishing Rodeo, contact the Union County Recreation Department at 429-1670 or the City of Union at 429-1704.