After a week of postponement due to bad weather, the Hawkins 2014 Youth Fishing Contest, sponsored by the H.A.W.K. ATV Club and the Sno-Hawks Snowmobile Club, and the Village of Hawkins, was held at the Hawkins Mill Pond on March 8.
This year, 125 children registered to fish on what was the first day of pleasant weather this winter. Each child received a free hot dog and free waxy bait donated from Ross’s Sport Shop in Phillips. Each participant was also entered in a free drawing, which was held throughout the day. With generous donations made by many area businesses, each child that entered received a prize. Entry fees contributed toward a 100 percent payback for fish caught. After the event, the children and adults were treated to an air-show with remote control model airplanes.
Five fish and one very unusual water beetle were caught at the contest. A $50 prize was awarded to the winners of each of the fish categories in contest. Ryan Mohr (seven) of Hawkins won the crappie category with his two crappies that measured 6.25 and 6.5 inches. Reed Haskins (three) of Phillips took first with a six-inch sunfish. Easton Mosetine (4) of Stevens Point won with a 13.5-inch northern pike. Emma Kroll (11) from Thorp took first with a 10-inch perch. She was also awarded a trophy, in memory of Ron Frohn, for the first fish caught. Zach Kostka (10) of Ladysmith received $10 and a new fishing pole for his catch of the biggest and ugliest beetle ever recorded in the contest’s history.
The youngest children participating in the tournament were Cason Best (nine months) from Hawkins, Olive Verdegan (one) from Wisconsin Dells and Kaylynn Burkman (one) from Hawkins.
Children traveling the longest distance to attend were Camron Sisko (four) from Minneapolis, Damien Bradshaw (seven) from Ashland, the Cooper boys Sam (14) Nathan (11) Jacob and Jesse (eight) from Little Suamico and Aaron (two) and Olive (one) Verdegan from Wisconsin Dells.
Five bicycles and two battery quad cars were presented from a 25 cent drawing to Madison Baker (six) of Hawkins, Tiffany Mabie (five) of Hawkins, Kyle Blackstock (five) of Glen Flora, Ava Hon (five) of Stratford, Autumn Johnston (five) of Hawkins, Kassidy Bitler (three) of Hawkins and Jan Kozub of Hawkins.
The non-profit contest is strictly for children under the age of 16, accompanied by a parent or guardian. It has become a yearly tradition and is looked forward to all year by area children and adults alike. It was started with the intent of inviting children to enjoy and take advantage of the wonderful resources at the Hawkins Mill Pond. Organizers said the event has become so much more. As not only a needed break from the harsh winter, it is also a gathering of friends, families and acquaintances as they teach children the art of ice fishing. It is also a chance for the children to meet new friends, to get outside and away from the television and video games. They added it was a wonderful opportunity to see 125 hopeful children drop their waxy-ready fishing poles into a pre-drilled hole at exactly 11 a.m. on a beautiful, sunny winter Wisconsin day.