By Joel Hall
The U.S. Army Garrison at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem, and the city of Forest Park, will host their 10th annual Youth Fishing Rodeo this weekend at Fort Gillem. The long-running tradition will allow children ages 13 and under to angle for prizes at Stephens Lake, located on Fort Gillem's property.
The rodeo will take place Saturday, from 8 a.m., to 12 p.m., at the base. The event will include free snacks, pizza, and prizes for participants.
Peter Chadwick, media relations officer for the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem, said the idea of the fishing rodeo started with Chuck Hall, an avid fisherman and the former mayor of Forest Park. Hall and the garrison's commander at the time, Col. William J. Clingempeel, decided to enhance the Army's partnership with the city by taking advantage of Fort Gillem's lakes.
"The lakes are stocked with brim and catfish annually by the garrison's Directorate of Public Works," Chadwick said.
He said there are first- through third-place trophies for participants who catch the most fish during the fishing rodeo, and a "variety of other prizes such as soccer balls, fishing poles, and backpacks, that are donated by the city of Forest Park."
"Nearly every child goes home with something," he added.
Chadwick said that during the rodeo, Garrison Commander Col. Deborah B. Grays will renew the garrison's annual partnership agreement with the city of Forest Park. He said Grays and Forest Park Mayor Corine Deyton will co-sign the partnership agreement at around 8:45 a.m.
"Basically, it's an agreement to improve the quality of life of residents in both communities," Chadwick said. He said the rodeo is an opportunity to promote "good citizenship" between the city and the Army and "gives the kids a chance to get pizza and prizes."
Chadwick said the Army will provide the bait, but anglers must bring their own fishing poles.
To attend the event, contact the U.S. Army Garrison Public Affairs Office at (404) 464-2551 or (404) 783-3004.