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Fort McPherson to host final Fishing Rodeo

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Area youngsters, who enjoy fishing, will be able to participate in the final fishing competition at Fort McPherson, in East Point, this weekend, according to a media relations officer for the installation.

Fort McPherson will host its free, 11th Annual "Youth Fishing Rodeo," on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 8 a.m., until noon, at Lake No.1, at the fort, said Peter Chadwick. This will be Fort McPherson's final Youth Fishing Rodeo, he said. The fort's final day will be on Sept. 15, 2011, when it will close, as part of the federal government's base realignment program.

"Every time we do something and it's the last thing ... there is a little bit of sadness involved ... It's a great post," said Chadwick. "I hate to see the old girl go. The installation has been around since 1885." The spokesman said the event is for children, 13 years of age, and younger, in families who are members of active duty military personnel, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard members, military retirees, Department of Defense civilians in the military communities at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem, and civilian residents of the City of East Point.

The children will be separated into age groups, which include 6 years of age and younger; 7-through-10 years old, and 11-through-13 years old.

Participants must bring rods and their own bait, according to Chadwick. "They generally bring worms," he said.

Children must be escorted by an adult during the event. Chadwick said the fishing area will be marked off, and youngsters will fish from 8:30 a.m., to 11 a.m., he said.

The lake will have catfish and bream for children to catch, he added.

He said judges will weigh the total amount of fish caught by each young angler. The child whose total catch weight is the heaviest will be the winner.

Chadwick said if there is a tie, judges will count the number of fish the final two anglers caught. The child with the highest number will be awarded first place.

"Each angler may want to bring their own drinking water -- sodas and snacks will be provided," said Chadwick.

Awards will be given for first-, and second-place finishers only, he said. Children who don't place will receive giveaways. Eligible families interested in participating must have a driver's license and an identification for all vehicle occupants, a vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance.

Fort McPherson is closing due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, said Chadwick. He said he does not know, at this time, why the installation was chosen for closure in 2005.

"We haven't got a real firm grip on that ... I don't know why, specifically, but it is because of [federal] budget issues," he said.