UNION — Do you like to fish?
If you do, and are 15 years of age or younger, then the J.A.K.E.S. Public Safety/Kids Fun Day Rodeo at Foster Park Lake is where you will want your parents to bring you this Saturday because there will be plenty of fish to catch and some really terrific prizes to win.
The J.A.K.E.S. Public Safety/Kids Fun Day Fishing Rodeo is an annual event sponsored by the following agencies:
• The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
• The National Wild Turkey Federation
• The City of Union
• The US Forest Service
• The Union County Parks and Recreation Department
The J.A.K.E.S. Public Safety/Kids Fun Day Rodeo is an annual opportunity for children ages 15 and under to enjoy a morning of fishing and win some prizes in the process as well take part in other fun activities offered during the event.
While it is an annual event, this year’s fishing rodeo will be a little different from those of the past in that there will be more time for the participating young anglers to fish.
“This year it is going to be from eight to noon,” Union Public Safety Director Sam White said Monday. “Previously we’ve had it from nine to noon, but people were showing up early so we decided to let them go ahead and fish at eight.”
White said that while registration for the fishing rodeo will be at Foster Park on Saturday from 8-8:45 a.m., those who want to do so may register in advance.
“People can regiser online at the SCDNR website (www.dnr.sc.gov),” White said. “We also have some registration forms at the Public Safety Department. There are also registration forms at the elementary and middle schools.”
White said that those who obtain and fill out their registration forms ahead of time can hand them in on Saturday and not have to wait in line.
The fishing rodeo is only for children ages 15 and under who are registered for it. White said that adults are not permitted to fish at the lake until noon Saturday. He said parents who bring their children are welcome to be present with their children and assist and encourage them, but, again, only the children are to be fishing between 8 a.m. and noon.
In addition to an additional hour of fishing, White said this year’s fishing rodeo will also feature new prizes for the participing young anglers to try and win.
“Another thing we’ve changed is that we used to give away bicycles and toys,” White said. “This year we are giving away eleven lifetime fishing licenses.”
White said the licenses cost $400 each, but are now prizes for the young anglers to win thanks to the generosity of the follow donors:
• Midway BBQ
• TBA Construction
• La Fogata
• El Poblano
• Timken Company
• Mr. and Mrs. Roger Bishop
• Union County
• City of Union
A $400 fishing license that allows you to legally fish in South Carolina for the rest of your life. Sounds like a really great prize that any angler would want to win. How do they do it, though?
“To get one of these licenses, you have to catch a tagged catfish, bring them up and they’ll get you signed up,” White said. “After those are given away, fishing rods donated by the SCDNR will be given to those who catch a tagged catfish.”
As with each year’s rodeo, Foster Park Lake is filled with catfish by the City of Union in the days leading up to the event, some of them with a tag attached to them. The tag enables the young angler who catches it to receive one of the prizes offered, in this case the lifetime fishing licenses or the fishing poles.
In addition to the fishing, White said that, as in years past, this Saturday’s event will also offer other activities for the children participating to enjoy including BB gun target shooting, archery, rock climbing, and the smokehouse “which is popular with the kids. It teaches them how to get out of a house that’s on fire.”
White said that his department will provide lunch to the participating children at 11:30 a.m.
Another tradition associated with the fishing rodeo is the fishing event for special needs children held prior to the rodeo.
“This Thursday from nine to noon, the special needs fishing event sponsored by the US Forest Service will be held,” White said. “There will be special needs children from throughout the county, and there will also be children from the School for the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, and special needs children from Chester. It’s getting to be real popular.”
Thursday’s fishing event will be catch and release. No other fishing will be permitted at Foster Park Lake until the rodeo on Saturday.
White encouraged parents to register their children for the rodeo and enjoy it with them.
“It’s a good time for families to come and have a good time together in the great outdoors,” White said.
For more information about the J.A.K.E.S. Public Safety/Kids Fun Day Rodeo call the Union Public Safety Department at 864-429-1713.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.