Kids Thrilled At SAG Fishing Derby
Inside the Outdoors, May 7, 2010

It may have been raining most of the day, but that didn’t hamper the spirits of approximately 40 youth who took part in the Annual Sportsmen’s Association of Greensburg Kids’ Fishing Derby, Sunday, May 2, at the club’s lake near Westmoreland Fair Grounds in Pleasant Unity.

The kids, two to sixteen, displayed their eagerness as they stood on the banks waiting for the competition to get underway at 3 p.m. With four hours ahead of them to fish, each was hoping to get his or her limit of two trout before 7 p.m.

And fish there were. According to Bruce Seeno, head of the SAG Fish Committee and vice president of the organization, rainbow, palomino, brown, and brook trout were stocked for the tournament, amounting to $2000 worth.  “We spent an additional $500 on food as well as prizes bought from Gander Mountain,” he told me.

Part of each member’s dues in addition to 50/50 raffles covered the cost of the fish.

And even though rain doused many young anglers, there was no dismay shown on the faces of these participants. Kayla Brownfield, 9, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott  Brownfield, Greensburg, couldn’t be happier when she reeled in a 17 ½-inch rainbow trout. David Musick, 8, son of Mr. and Mrs. Merle Musick, Latrobe, was thrilled to string up a 12-inch rainbow. And Emma Karinchak, 2, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Karinchak, Donegal, had a struggle, but cheerfully was able to land an 11-inch rainbow trout, only the second fish caught in her life, her father told me.

The youngsters, contesting in this derby, were divided into age groups, seven and under, eight to twelve, and thirteen to sixteen. The older youth vied for trout. In addition, the youngest group not only tried to entice big trout, but bluegill as well. Thanks to the members of SAG and Gander Mountain, prizes were given to winners in each group respectively. It must be noted that even though the kids could only keep two trout, prizes were awarded for biggest fish and most inches caught.

Those recognized for catching the biggest trout were, in the seven and under class, Sana Petro, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Petro, Saltsburg, eight to twelve, James Queer, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Queer, Kecksburg, and thirteen to sixteen age group, Justin Vidakovich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Vidakovich of Hecla.

Additionally, prizes were awarded in each division for first, second and third place based on total inches, and one prize for the biggest fish other than trout.

One member divulged that the annual derby has taken place now for over 40 years. Jennifer Bilott, Hunker, who has been a member for 32 years, told me it a family tradition to be a part of the organization. She exclaimed, “My grandfather was a member over 50 years, and my dad, Mike Detore since 1960.” Her brother, Jeff is in charge of the derby.

Unity Township member Eric Pavlik, disclosed that his wife, Kim, participated in the derby well over 25 years ago when she was a little girl. They have two children who took part in Sunday’s competition. Their daughter, Autumn, 6, landed an 18 ½-inch brook trout, her biggest to date, while her sister, Summer, 2, enjoyed catching bluegill.

And to sum it up, a number of members all said the same thing. “Even though it rained, the kids had a good time, were able to try their hand at fishing, some for the first time, and caught some really nice trophies. It doesn’t get better than that!”

(For pictures of the event, click the Gallery tab above, then open the SAG Fishing Derby 2010 album)

- Paul J. Volkmann
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