Winners of the Tilton-Northfield Rotary's 42nd annual Children's Fishing Derby posed with their trophy after the awards presentation at the Tilton School pond last Sunday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 22, 2019TILTON – Tilton-Northfield Rotary hosted their annual Children's Fishing Derby at the Tilton School pond last Sunday, and Rotarian Rachel Salibas said 84 boys and girls took part in the event this year.
"We might have had a few more but with the weather being so iffy early this morning, we're really happy with the turnout," Salibas said.
The derby, first begun by former Tilton-Northfield Rotarians Harry Laughy and Frank Tibbetts, is now in its 42nd year. Dean Laughy, Harry's son and Tibbett's step-son, said he is thrilled to see the tradition his "two dads" began so long ago continuing on even after they have both passed away.
"They spent thousands of hours every year working on this derby. It was their life. They both lived for this. It's nice to know it's still part of the community," said Laughy.
In remembrance of their dedication, each year the boy or girl who reels in the biggest fish during the Rotary derby is awarded the Frank and Harry Trophy, a large bit of sparkling hardware that each child yearns to take home at least once.
"Frank and Harry always loved it when the trophy was bigger than the child who won it," Laughy recalled with a laugh.
Winning this year's for the second time in three years, another feat Frank and Harry would have loved, was ten-year-old Matthew Hibbert of Northfield.
Hibbert was excited to have yet another trophy to add to his collection at home but also offered some tips for his fellow competitors.
"You've just got to use the right lures and the right bait for what you're fishing for (trout in this instance). You also need the right equipment and the right line for the strength of a big one so the line doesn't snap," said Hibbert.
The big one he landed this time was a 15-inch Rainbow trout that not only gave him the win in his age group, but that coveted Harry and Frank Trophy. After Hibbert posed for a few photos with his fish and the trophies though, he then graciously handed that winning fish over to some new friends from Manchester whom he met during the course of the derby.
"We don't really like to eat fish and they do, so I gave it to them," he said.
While six-year-old Riley, also of Northfield, didn't win a trophy this time around, she did manage to help bring home dinner for her house with the nine fish she and her family caught on Sunday.
"I come here every year. I really like fishing," she said as she hoisted a stringer laden with fresh trout.
Rotary officials commended all the children for a great day in the outdoors and were glad that 50 of them also walked away with new fishing poles, once again awarded through a raffle drawing from Health First Family Care Center in Laconia.
Trophy winners in the ages one through six category this year were three-year-old Joel Chapman of Sanbornton who came in third place, five-year-old Kenly Chapman of Sanbornton in second place, and four-year-old Amillia Mason of Northfield in first with a 13.5-inch trout.
For the 7-11 age group, it was Danny Powell, age eight of Sanbornton, coming in both second and third with his 12 and 10.75-inch catches, while Hibbert took first place with his rainbow trout that was also the largest caught in the derby.
In the final 12-15 year-old division, Alex Jordan of Tilton took both the second and third place trophies with his top two fish measuring nine and 8.75-inches, while Tyler Carson of Franklin placed first with his 12-inch catch.
In the Strangest Fish category, which included anything other than trout, 10-year-old Eli Arvidson of Tilton took home his trophy for the 10-inch "sucker fish" he reeled in that day.