2017-06-14 ssl-kidsfishing3

Over 300 kids lined the shores of Sand Springs Lake for the annual Free Kids Fishing Derby, Saturday June 10, 2017. KIRK MCCRACKEN/Leader

It is difficult to have a fishing derby while following social distancing guidelines, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a fishing derby.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30th Annual Sand Springs Kids Free Fishing Derby needed a bit of tweaking, and that led to a month-long fishing derby in the month of June. Church That Matters sponsors the event, and Cecil and Sons Discount Tires was the only corporate sponsor, this year.

“COVID-19 made it really difficult to plan and prepare for the fishing derby, but Church That Matters likes to find the opportunities hidden in every obstacle,” said CTM Lead Pastor Rusty Gunn. “They have adopted a mantra like that of the US Marine Corp of ‘adapt, improvise, and overcome’ to serve our city in the name of Jesus. So, our team got creative and decided to take the event online and spread it out over the entire month of June rather than just one day.”

Kids, ages 4 to 12 years old, who live in the Sand Springs area were encouraged to get outside and fish in any body of water, take a photo of any fish they catch and enter it on the form found online. There were three age divisions (4-6 years, 7-9 years, and 10-12 years). Every entry will be entered into prize drawings at their age division, and the winners will be announced the first week of July.

All participants who enter will also receive a free COVID Classic Kids Free Fishing Derby t-shirt.

“We decided, with the economic crisis many local businesses have experienced, to give a break to our corporate sponsors who normally support the event. We decided to have just one corporate sponsor this year to help offset just a little bit of the expenses which surprisingly are still significant even with these adjustments. Cecil & Son’s Discount Tires have been a great partner for many years and we’re happy to step up as the exclusive sponsor. We are thrilled with the participation so far and are just thankful to help facilitate kids getting outdoors experiencing God’s beautiful creation and spending quality time with their families,” Gunn said.

In the past, young fishermen would compete at Sand Springs Lake on a Saturday in the fishing derby, and the event would be over by the afternoon. However, this is the first year for a month-long derby.

The winners for each division will be announced the first week of July.

​Kirk McCracken 918-581-8315