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Sunday, March 31, 2019

1967 Kerrville Fishing Rodeo: how many of these kids do you recognize?

Winners, Kerrville Fishing Rodeo, September 1967
sponsored by the Hill Country Bass Club
How many kids do you recognize?
Click on any image to enlarge.
"Kids who like to fish don't end up in prison" was the premise behind an annual Kid's Fishing Rodeo held late each summer in Louise Hays Park, back in the 1960s. The contest was sponsored by the Hill Country Bass Club.
This week I ran across two photos of the contest from September, 1967, which brought back lots of memories, not only because I recognized a few of the prize winners, but also because I can remember the contest and how much excitement it generated among students my age. (In 1967 I was a first-grader at Starkey Elementary.)
Given the tone of the news lately, I though a bit of nostalgia might be nice.  Besides, I think many readers will recognize the names of some of the winners.
In 1967, 55 local boys and girls competed on the banks of the Guadalupe River for prizes ranging from lifejackets, tackle boxes, and fishing poles.
Club members weighing the kids' stringers
"Members of the Hill Country Bass Club were as busy as beavers weighing the stringers and providing bait," the news report said.  I can imagine.  55 children competing in one event on a hot day would be enough to wear out most fishermen.
Those children fishing were divided by age, and competed in the following categories: heaviest fish and heaviest stringer.
See if you recognize some of the names among the winners:
In the 5 and 6 year old group, Russell Morgan and Debbie Chipmann had the heaviest fish; Rodney Baumann and Jane Hopkins had the heaviest stringers.  Gerry Stoepel and Janie Schilling had the second heaviest.
The winners in the 7 and 8 year old group: Kenneth Williams and Lynn Byrd, for heaviest fish; Danny Ayala and Beth Hopkins had the heaviest stringers.  James Thurman and Jeff Goldman had the second heaviest.
In the 9 and 10 year old group, Danny Virgen and Phillys Williams had the heaviest fish; Bobby Kaiser and Holly Byrd, the heaviest stringer. Thomas Bridges and Barbara Zassette had the second place stringers.   Holly Byrd is the sister of Lynn Byrd; something tells me they had been fishing as a family before the contest.
In the 11 and 12 year old group, Gene Schilling and Martha Piaz had the heaviest fish; Freddie Pieper and Dick Hopkins had the heaviest stringers.  Preston Jones and Steve Griffin came in second place.
The grand prize fisherman was Thomas Sheppard.
The last mention of the Hill Country Bass Club I found in my index of old newspapers was back in February, 2010; I did not find the group among those listed on the Convention and Visitors Bureau's website.  I'm not sure if the club still meets.
Here's something I do know: the group instilled the love of fishing in a lot of children.  I'm not sure fishing will keep you out of prison, but it is certainly a nice way to spend a day at the river.
Until next week, all the best.

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Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who enjoys fishing trips with his son. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times March 30, 2019

If you like these columns, you'll like my two books of collected columns. You can get yours at Wolfmueller's Books, Herring Printing Company, and online by clicking HERE.

1 comment:

  1. David speaks quite often of his dad being in the Bass Club. What memories this photo holds!


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