Children arrived at Lake Tom Bailey in Toomsuba ready and rearing to go. That's because officials with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks hosted a Catfish Rodeo just for kids. The rodeo was open to kids 15-years-old and under at no cost. To keep the energy high among participants, lunch was also provided.
Charles Vaughn is the lake manager. He says 137 kids attended the rodeo, all of them with equal excitement.
"We try to get the kids more involved in fishing. We feel like if we can get two kids or even one from this 137 off of the street and into fishing and be more interested in fishing, I think we have done our jobs. It is real important. You have to be at one just to see when they catch that first fish. They grin from ear to ear. I've had them get it to the bank and throw it down and run because they didn't know what it was. It's just something that we as adults need to take interest in; getting the kids down here. And we had the best turn out we've had in a million days," describes Vaughn.
Registration began at 7:00a.m. with fishing from 8 to noon. All of the catfish were raised at the Meridian Fish Hatchery.