By Bailey Faulkner
Blowing Rock celebrated the beginning of warmer weather in the High Country on Saturday with the 38th Annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby Day at Broyhill Lake. Like each year, the family event drew kids and their parents from the High Country and beyond as they competed for various prizes based on their catches for the day.
This year marked the busiest year to date for the annual trout derby.
“We had more participants than ever this year,” derby coordinator Kim Rogers said. “130 t-shirts and 100 ‘Fish for Fun’ bags were gone by noon.”
Rogers, who is also the daughter of one of the derby’s founders that helped establish the event almost 40 years ago, was pleased to see that the event continues to give families the chance to bond over the love of fishing.
“A lot of the reason that the derby is so popular is that it is a multigenerational event,” Rogers said. “I see kids that I remember from when they were five or six now bringing their kids out to the derby.”
In addition to even more family participation than in previous years, this year’s derby saw an increase in educational interest from kids and other young and aspiring fishermen and women.
“Usually, the kids will come in and ask where the fish are biting, and then they’ll go on their way. This year, kids came in and asked educational questions about the types of fish and fishing practices at the event,” Rogers said.
With very mild weather this year, the derby gave trout anglers ample opportunity to win exciting prizes, which included fishing poles, filet knives and other assorted fishing gadgets and gizmos. This year, the first place winner in the men’s competition took home a fish cleaning table with a faucet, which allows the user to clean his or her catch outdoors instead of relying on indoor sinks and faucets for cleaning. The first place winner for the women’s competition was awarded an electric filet knife.
Like each year since the derby’s beginning, the most exciting moments of the event likely came when kids were awarded fishing poles for their catches during the competition. The high-quality poles awarded at the event have historically given youngsters all the more reason to love fishing with their families.
In addition to fishing poles, young fishermen and women also had the chance to win other fishing gear like waterproof bags, flashlights and other fishing and water sport accessories.
Blowing Rock is already looking forward to next year’s trout derby, which will mark the 39th consecutive year that the trout derby has been held. Rogers is especially appreciative of those whom help out with each year’s derby.
“A lot of the money raised for the event comes from people and groups that are directly associated with sports and the outdoors like Hunters Helping Kids and other groups in the area,” Rogers said.
Next year may also mark the first year that the derby will award handmade trophies for the event’s various competitions.
If you couldn’t make it out to the derby this year, you can check out the pictures below to see what you missed!