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Forty-four years and counting, Trout Derby is a hit

By David Rogers. BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — At 44 years, the Blowing Rock Trout Derby is the second longest, continuous running event in town behind only the six decades of Art in the Park — and if the trout weren’t exactly jumping on the fishing tackle April 6, there was plenty of angler action and loads of family fun.

In moving the event headquarters to a tent setup on the north end of Broyhill Lake, event director Kim Rogers and her merry band of volunteers Mike Calhoun, Tom Shelley, Maddie Parker, Anabel Parker and representatives of co-sponsor The Speckled Trout Outfitters were kept busy throughout the day by the “small fry” and their families lining the banks of the historic lake to the west of the American Legion Building. They loaded up on Trout Derby T-shirts and free, richly supplied tackle boxes, all aimed at promoting fishing among young people — just like the original sponsors of Trout Derby more than four decades ago. They included Rogers’ father, Elmer Jenkins (Jenkins Realtors), Earl Trexler (Village Hardware), James Marsh (Northwestern Bank), and Wayne Underwood (Mystery Hill).

Blowing Rock Trout Derby can be a terrific family affair, as evidence by the multiple generations of the Rooney family. Photographic image by David Rogers

While the morning started out blustery with sub-freezing temperatures and estimated 30 miles per hour winds, it hardly dampened the spirits of young and old alike happy to be celebrating the opening day of trout fishing season.

Young Asher Boyd turned the proverbial “hat trick” as a triple winner on the day. He registered the First Fish at 7:46 a.m., captured first place in the “Catch and Release” small fry division, and won the art contest. For the latter, his art will be showcased on next year’s event T-Shirt and promotional posters.

Mason Rush and Charlotte Hill each won $25 for catching one of the tagged fish. In the 16 and older “Traditional” (harvest) division, James Rooney captured first place with a 21.5″ trophy fish. Meredith Cavalier was close behind with a 20.5 incher. And Gene Hodges rounded out the top 3 with a 19.5-inch fish that would fit nicely on any dinner plate.

Lots of families enjoyed the warming sun mid-morning on April 6 at Broyhill Lake, the headquarters for Blowing Rock Trout Derby. Photographic image by David Rogers

In the “Catch and Release” 16 and older division, Tripp Nazziola reeled in 437 inches of bait catchers, followed by No. 2 Phillip Jamison’s 378 inches and No. 3 Ben Milam’s 225.5 inches.

In the Traditional division, Price Lake proved the source of two of the three largest species categories. For Brook trout, Grayzlyn Douglas took top honors with a 13.25-inch specimen from Price Lake. For Brown trout, Meredith Cavalier won the prize at 20.5 inches (Watauga River). And for Rainbow, James Rooney hauled in a 21.5 incher out of Price Lake.

Following Boyd’s first place effort in the “Catch and Release” Small Fry division were second place Ethan Boyd and third place Joey Sexton.

Event director Kim Rogers (center) discuss the big morning turnout for Trout Derby on April 6 with volunteer granddaughters Anabel Parker (left) and Maddie Parker. Photographic image by David Rogers.

In the Traditional Small Fry division, Palmer Jordanhaby was No. 1 at 16.75 inches, Lucy Vandenhazen was No. 2 at 15.5 inches, and Grayzlyn Douglas picked up some more hardware at No. 3 (13.25-inches).

Grayzlyn Douglas (left) holds up her family’s morning catch on April 6 during Blowing Rock Trout Derby. Photographic image by David Rogers

Sponsors of this year’s event included First Citizens Bank, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Division of Inland Fisheries, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, Jenkins Realtors, The Speckled Trout Restaurant and The Speckled Trout Outfitters, Hollars Construction, Omega Tees, Town Tavern, Chetola Mountain Resort, Cheeky, Mountaineer Maintenance, Booneshine Brewing, Edmisten Heating & Cooling, Scientific Anglers, 4 Forty Four Construction, Jim Allen Home Solutions, Snake Mountain Iron Works, A-1 Termite and Pest Control, Riversmith Boulder Colorado, Wingo Outdoors, High Country Professional Cleaners, Free Fly, The Village Foundation of Blowing Rock, Thomas & Thomas, Stickboy Bread, Lamson, Food Lion and Bush Carpet Cleaning.




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