Flynn Fishing Derby success despite economy worries



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Robert, right, and James Phipps shoe off their catches last weekend at the Sixth Annual Officer Kainen M. Flynn Memorial Fishing Derby. Danielle DeLisle. (click for larger version)

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Robert Phipps and his father, Jason, show that fishing can be a very relaxing sport during the Sixth Annual Officer Kainen M. Flynn Memorial Fishing Derby last weekend. Danielle DeLisle. (click for larger version)
June 10, 2009
The Gilford Police Department was initially worried that the economy would keep residents away from the Sixth Annual Officer Kainen M. Flynn Memorial Fishing Derby at Gunstock Mountain Resort, but at the end of the day, there was no cause for concern.

"We had a beautiful day," said Sgt. Kristian Kelley. "The people were really good. This year really reminded us why we come out here and do this."

The kids' derby is held in honor of Officer Kainen Flynn, who died in a boating accident on June 4, 2003. Because Flynn was such an avid fisherman, a derby was determined to be a fitting way of honoring his memory. Last year the derby hosted 300 people, a record number; this year, despite the economy, 200 signed up, and Kelley said that most of those who signed up came and fished.

"We go fishing a lot," said Judy Hayes, who brought her two children, Kelly and Tom, to the derby. "The kids go ice fishing too."

The kids are put into three categories based on their ages, 0 to7, 8 to 11 and 12 to 15, and the top six fish in each group get prizes. Aside from the fish already in the lake there were also tagged trout in the pond, and the biggest tagged fish also got prizes for the young fishermen. Each fish was carefully weighed and measured and the tag placed on a board so the kids could see if their fish had been beaten or if they were still in the running for a prize.

No one walked away empty handed, however; there were t-shirts and a silent auction as well as a 50/50 raffle, all to help raise money for local Gilford programs, such as D.A.R.E. The officers who weren't patrolling lent their hands to grilling hot dogs and hamburgers or helping to weigh the fish.

The event relies on donations from local business for raffle and derby prizes. Though there were fewer donations, this year winners still walked away with over $200 in raffle money, fishing rods, tackle boxes, trophies and their fish, of course.

Kelley said they are very grateful to their sponsors who included: Gunstock Mountain Resort, Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, Sail em Bass Club, Metz Electronics, Waldron's Dugout, Shaw's Supermarket, MB Tractor & Equipment, Broadway North, PRB Construction, Inc. (in memory of Bob Blandford), Kenneth & Carole St. Jacques, Bianco Child and Family Therapy, LLC, New Hampshire Jr. Bassmasters, Nassau Broadcasting / WLNH, Ted Williams Museum, Funspot, Airport Country Store & Deli, D & D Market, Walmart, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Franklin Savings Bank, TD Banknorth, Laconia Savings Bank, EndorFUN Sports, Jordan's Ice Cream, Hannaford Supermarket and Johnson's Dairy Bar.

Hayes said that her kids only caught little fish, but they still received gift certificates for Funspot and that made up for the disappointing luck. The warm weather lasted until the last fish was caught and the last hamburger was eaten and everybody had departed after another year of fishing fun.

"We always have a good time when we come," said Hayes. "It's just a great activity."

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