Fenton Derby Winner
Inside the Outdoors, September 30,

He may have tied for second place last year, but Latrobe’s Greg Fenton hauled in a $400 check last Saturday, Sept. 24, as he took first place at the Second Annual Catch and Release Fishing Derby held at the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center (LCCC) just off Route 30 at 118 Dugan Lane.

During this four-hour competition, using creek chubs once again, Fenton hooked a twenty-one and five-eighths inch channel catfish landing it minutes later to capture the prize. Last year, his twenty-inch largemouth bass yielded him second place, tying with Latrobe resident Ed Stynchula.

Sponsored by the Center and Ligonier Boy Scout Troop 375, the event was open to all ages whose challenge it was to catch the longest fish. Forty-five fishers signed up to take part in the Derby all from the surrounding area.

To make it more interesting this year, twenty pounds of channel catfish were added to the compound, the longest being twenty-eight inches weighing ten pounds.

All the employees of the LCCC, boy scouts and volunteers did a tremendous job organizing the Derby, making preparations for it, and then making sure everything went smoothly throughout the big day. And their work paid off, as not only all had fun, but also there were great prizes awarded to those catching fish, raffle winners and seventy-five dollars to the fifty/fifty prize recipient.

Luke Nepa, 14, from Seward, caught a twenty and three-quarter-inch channel cat to clinch second place. He chose to receive a replica of a fish he caught from After the Hunt Taxidermy, 223 Wilpen Road, Ligonier. His other choice could have been a free two-week session of camp at the LCCC.

Taking third place was Dave Lincoln from Laughlintown. His prize catch was a twenty and one-eighth inch largemouth bass. He would be awarded a two-week gift certificate from the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center.

Parker Repko, from Latrobe, landed more fish than anyone else with a tally of twenty-six, and Haley Hensell caught the smallest fish, a five and one-quarter inch bluegill.

A couple of the other children were recognized for their accomplishments in the Derby and given prizes.

Patrick Myers, executive director of the LCCC, was very excited about the day. In his address to the scouts and audience, including fishers taking part, he thanked all for turning out. He then stated, “I would like this event to eventually become a community event.”

Looking ahead already to next year’s Third Annual Catch and Release Fishing Derby, in 2017,“We are going to have two categories, one for longest bass and one for longest catfish,” he said.

Part of the proceeds this year will go toward camp activities to raise money for scholarships, and the boy scouts would use the other half.

According to Scout Master David Johnston, “Our troop is planning a trip to Gettysburg next year and the monies taken in today will be used to help fund our trip. Helping out Johnston, were Assistant Scout Master Andy Lawrence, Dan Verna and Dan Mehorey.

One of the rules for the Derby was “You must have fun.” And that they did, all fishers taking part. If anglers weren’t happy with one area, they gathered up their gear and headed toward the next, some moving many yards away until they found their “honey-hole.”

Fenton, who has tournament fished before, said, “I have fished this lake since I was a kid.” I, too, used to bring customers here when I owned Pee Vee’s Fishing Lures and Tackle. “I know how great fishing is here!” I talked to a number of youth prior to this outing. I could tell they were “pumped” and ready to hit the shoreline.

The LCCC and Boy Scout Troop 375 would like to thank the following sponsors who generously supported the day’s event. They include: the LCCC, Boy Scout Troop 375, American Legion, Rolling Rock Farms, Hillview Landscaping, DBA Shafron’s Custom Spindal’s, and After the Hunt Taxidermy. Mr. Pee Vee (Paul J. Volkmann) who has an entrepreneurship called “Hooked on Fishing” made and donated lots of fishing lures that were distributed to all participants.

Asked exactly what is the LCCC, Patrick said, “The Ligonier Camp and Conference Center is a non-denominational inter-relational outreach ministry that reaches out to everyone. When people visit our Camp, they can live in cabins, take part in Bible studies, while playing games, tubing on the lake, or riding the zip-line. Monies raised will help our program.”

When I asked Fenton what he was going to do with his check, he stated, “I’ve got my eye on a reel I want to buy, and then I’m going to take my wife out to dinner!”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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