4th Annual Benton Co. Kids Fishing Rodeo

At Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park


On Saturday the 11th day of June 2016, the temperatures heated up quickly but the fish bite was action packed at the 4th Annual Benton Co. Kids Fishing Rodeo located in Eva, TN at the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park (NBFSP).  Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) teamed up with the NBFSP again this year to provide a fun fishing experience for anyone age 15 and under and the heat didn’t seem to deter the fun!  As 8 o’clock rolled around, families with kids smiling ear to ear, eager to start fishing, surrounded the registration tent.  From 8 am to 9 am, all kids planning to fish were registered in an appropriate age group to be eligible for prizes.  The prize tables were located directly behind the registration tent so many kids strolled by to “ooh” and “ah” before picking out a spot to fish.  Once 9 o’clock hit, the rodeo was on and it didn’t take long for the kids to start reeling in fish.  After several bottles of cold water, a good shade tree, a decent KY Lake breeze and the distant smell of smoked chicken for lunch the two hours of fishing came to an end.  The kids were anxious to find out who caught the most fish so they stood in line as their fish were counted and weighed. With a total of 65 kids registered, 37 kids caught 94 fish weighing a combined 64.05 lbs.  Once the numbers were tallied in each age group, the winners were announced in the following order: Biggest Fish of Rodeo- Corey Painter 2.14 lbs; Girls 0-7 Most Fish- Addi Beth Merrell & Anniston Hedge 2 fish, Most Weight- Addi Beth Merrell 3.02 lbs; Girls 8-12 Most Fish- Kelsey Bailey 5 fish, Most Weight-Lauren Flowers 4.08 lbs; Girls 13-15 Most Fish & Most Weight-Amber Shepherd 2 fish & 2lbs; Boys 0-7 Most Fish- Sawyer Noles 8 fish, Most Weight- Aiden Smith 2.07 lbs;  Boys 8-12 Most Fish- Barrett Shepard & Dakota Wilkes 3 fish, Most Weight Tristan Hedge 3.13 lbs; Boys 13-15 Most Fish- Ryan Baker 8 fish, Most Weight- Cory Painter 5.04lbs.  After winners selected their prizes, door prizes were given out by drawing tickets handed out during registration.  Thanks to all of the sponsors, all kids were able to leave with at least one prize of their choice.  Finally, to wrap up the Fishing Rodeo, with bellies growling, everyone lined up to fill their plate with the mouth-watering smoked chicken that Mr. Joey Dale Peirce volunteered to slave over while everyone else was enjoying the fishing rodeo.  

It was a great day of fishing and fun made possible by TWRA, NBFSP, Tennessee Wildlife Officers’ Association, Friends of NBFSP,  Wal-Mart, Save-A-Lot, Open Season Sporting Goods, Shooter’s Sporting Goods, Tyson, Waste Management, Sundrop, Midway Materials, Belisle Tool & Machine Inc., Ray Smith Chevrolet, Terry & Jack Leonard Law Firm and Joey Dale Pierce. 

Normally, when a small lake is drained and all of the fish die, there is not a great chance that a fishing rodeo can take place......Unless you are a Tennessee Game Warden! After the lake, where a fishing rodeo was supposed to take place, was drained  and all of the fish died, there was little to no hope that the event could take place, however, Tipton County Wildlife Officer Jake Yoes was able to get over 120lbs of catfish stocked in the lake once water was back in there! The event was a success! There were over 130 kids is attendance to show off their fishing skills and every kid was able to walk away with a prize. Officer Yoes said, " I can't thank the Tennessee Wildlife Officer's Association enough for the donation that made tons of kids smile!" To us, folks, that is what it is all about! Seeing kids smile while enjoying the outdoors! Great job Officer Yoes!!