Dave Hendrix and Rod May carried the "fishing derby spirit" to Kansas City on Saturday, June 14, as they joined about 300 inner-city kids for a fishing event at the Gorman Discovery Nature Center.
Dave and Rod had received a call from the office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife director in Washington, telling them about the kids fishing event and asking them to go and help.
This was the first they had heard of the event, but they promised to attend..
"We didn't know what to expect," said Hendrix. "But it was great!"
Saturday morning as the men made ready to go, Hendrix and May decided to take along 80 rods and reels and the bait that was left over from the Senior/Disabled Fishing Derby held the day before in Neosho. On arrival in Kansas City, they discovered the kids only had about 30 old cane poles which were in bad condition.
So, to the astonishment of the crowd, they pulled the new rods and reels out of their van.
"It was a great day," said May. "The kid were just like sponges, soaking up everything we told them."
Many of the children, who live in the inner city, had never seen a fishing rod before, Hendrix. But they quickly took to how to use them, with directions and training from the attending adults.
"Everyone up there was so happy to have us," Hendrix said. "The adults there said they want to come down and help with our derby."
The event was sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and Urban American Outdoors and featured a professional fisherman, who also wants to come to the Kids Derby in Neosho.
"We could not have done this without the staff and our Friends, who have bought most of our poles, equipment and bait," Hendrix said. "It was a great experience for us as much as for those kids."