Reeling in a good time

First Posted: 6/13/2009

Even though the fish got wise to the hooks quickly and turtles took their place at the end of the lines, participants in the Catfish Roundup at Shelton Vineyards on Saturday were having a blast.
With rods and bait in hand, participants set up chairs and blankets on the edge of the pond at the vineyard and went to work trying to catch one of the larger fish stocked in the water.
The event, which was free, was put together by the Yadkin Valley Wheelin Sportsmen and the National Wild Turkey Federation in an effort to give disabled children and adults the opportunity to fish with the assistance of volunteers.
According to Scott Martin, NWTF regional field supervisor, around 400 people showed up for the event, including around 150 participants, a record turnout. This years group even included about 50 new participants, many of whom had not fished in years.
Its been a great event. Im glad to see everybody come out, he said. There are people here that probably havent fished in a long, long time.
David Lee Carlisle, one of the participants, had been looking forward to the event for several days and was excited to catch four fish. He was ready to take them home and eat them after all the effort spent catching them.
Danny Smith, another participant, said he is thankful for the event and has been a participant for the past three years the event has been held.
There are very few organizations for handicapped people in Surry County, he said. You get to visit with other people. Its really nice of the Sheltons to let us use this place, and its real nice of Manus (coordinator of the Yadkin Valley Wheelin Sportsmen) and his group to organize all this.
Trish Martin heard about the event for the first time this year and came with her niece, Cindy Thomas, who has spina bifida, along with a number of other family members.
Im not catching anything yet. I had a bite but I lost it, she said. Its fun and its a nice day to get out.
Tim Angel was having a similar problem with not finding any fish to take the bait, but he was having fun all the same.
Were having a wonderful time, said Frances Villari, Angels mom. To see some of these kids faces when they catch a fish is just amazing. Hes having fun just holding the rod.
Fishing was not the only activity on the agenda for participants during the day. They also were provided hot dogs and hamburgers with all of the fixings for lunch and listened to some bluegrass music provided by local bands.
The Alleghany Trail Blazers offer therapeutic riding and brought some of their horses to the event for participants to get a chance to go for a ride. Some people were nervous at first but eventually became comfortable enough to climb aboard and give it a try. Others were more excited and quickly scrambled into the saddle for their circuit around the grass.
Its an awesome program, said Stacy Evans of the Trail Blazers about the day. This right here will touch your heart. Its the most enjoyable program Ive ever been involved in.
The Trail Blazers offer riding programs for disabled people and are participating in an upcoming horse show for disabled children and adults in Sparta.
Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman was a popular man at the event, makin7g the rounds to visit with participants after parachuting into the event carrying an American flag. Bowman is a double amputee who still enjoys jumping out of airplanes.
Its a joy of mine to be able to jump in for the Catfish Roundup. People can enjoy a day of friendship and coming together. Its about making a difference, he said. We all have disabilities. For some of us it is physical or mental but for some its the things they think they cant do.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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