Editor’s Note: For more photos from the derby, go to the Fort Knox official Flickr site at Fort Knox youth reel in prizes, family fun at first VFW/FMWR fishing derby | Flickr.
FORT KNOX, Ky. — They came out in droves, as many as 250 youth and their families from Fort Knox and the surrounding communities, in search of fun, fish and family time.
Organizers of the 25th Anniversary VFW Post 10281 Kids Fishing Derby said this year became extra special to them as the first time they partnered with Fort Knox Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation to host the event at Carlson Lake. Prior to 2022, the derby had been held at Nolin Lake, except for the past two years when it was cancelled due to COVID.
“This is about serving the community, serving Fort Knox,” said Drew Flynn, chairman of the Kids Fishing Derby event for the VFW. “Being a military retiree and a VFW post member, I thought it was a better fit to serve folks that are at our front door.”
The members of Post 10281 joined forces with FMWR, to provide loaner poles, advice and assistance where needed. Along with an assist from some semi-pro anglers from 1st Theater Sustainment Command, the team of volunteers spread out around the 14-acre lake at Camp Carlson military recreational site.
Debbie Clements, Fort Knox Outdoor Recreation specialist, said the weather weighed in their favor, making the derby even better.
“We’ve been working together trying to get this event up and going, and it’s turned out to be a great event,” said Clements. “We had a lot of preregistered people, and a lot of people showed up the day of — about a hundred or so. And the weather turned out to be great as well.
“It is literally the perfect weather for fishing!”
After the derby concluded, FMWR workers fed attendees, and contest officials tallied the results. The winners and participants alike received double arms full of goodies, including trophies, rod-and-reel kits and tackle boxes.
Clements said this wouldn’t be the last derby for them.
“The most enjoyable thing to me has been merging the two communities, and getting kids outside to enjoy the outdoors,” said Clements. “We’ll be partnering with the VFW next year and hopefully many years to come. In fact, we’re already planning for next year.”