Lake Fryer is hosting its annual ‘Children’s Fishing Tournament’ on Saturday, June 3rd. The first Saturday of every June is free fishing. The national event allows folks to fish for one day without requiring a license. The tournament started in the early 80s and has only taken one year off, due to the pandemic, other than that, they’ve been running at full speed every year. The tournament was started 35 years ago by Kay Allison and her late husband.
“We’ve done this for many years, but it has grown further than we imagined,” Kay Allison said. “When we first started doing this, we began in our own lake but my late husband and I approached the board about going bigger and they were all on board. Ever since then, we’ve taken to the streets for donations.”
The tournament has three age brackets, that fish for competition as well as unique fishing awards.
“We have challenges for the largest fish and smallest fish. But also for the ugliest fish or the first turtle,” Allison said. “It makes it more entertaining. We award for the most unusual thing found in the lake, and for the contestants who’s traveled the furthest.”
In its 35 years, the tournament has seen folks from all over the states. From the Dakotas to California and Wyoming, contestants are from near and far. Further out, there’s been contestants come from Japan or further states that just happen to be passing by and stop in to see what the rave is all about. United Supermarkets of Perryton brings out a wagon to provide food for the people in attendance.
“I always want to make this as much fun as I can. We usually have Frisbees and other things to play with for folks, as well as food and drinks,” Allison said. “The manager of United has been so gracious in coming out and providing food and being a good sport about the event. I grew up loving the parks and fishing and I want to pass that on. The park and wildlife are so important, my goal is, that if these kids have a good memorable time at our event when they grow up they’ll pass that along. It instills respect for what we have as an asset of wildlife and parks.”
The tournament is judged by three game wardens that are always happy to be part of the event.
“We encourage parents and grandparents to come be a part of the day. It’s a family day and a good way to spend time together,” Allison said. “The craziest thing we’ve pulled out of the lake was from a few years back when we had a flood. A young man and his father pulled out a bumper of a car and were just in shock at what they found. We’ve had a time where someone pulled up a fishing pole with a live fish attached to the other end.”
Registration for the event begins at 8 on the morning of the 3rd. The entry fee is $1 but Allison says they never turn anyone away.
“I always tell the volunteers, if they don’t have a dollar, it’s not a big deal, let them fish,” Allison said. “But those kiddos love paying their way in, we tried to do away with it, but those kiddos think when they pay that dollar they are in the big leagues. They come up to the table with their knuckles gripped on the dollar, and that dollar means the world to them.”
Through donations, the tournament offers a fishing pole and t-shirt to contestants, but they encourage folks to bring their own if they have one. Registration is at the Pavilion, East of the Lobo Restaurant. The tournament kicks off at 8 and ends around noon.
“We finish the tournament around noon because it’ll start getting warmer by the hour,” Allison said. “We have food and drinks for families to eat and enjoy the afternoon and then we award prizes at 1.”
Prizes are awarded to each of the age groups. Age group one is 3-6, followed by 7-10 and 11-14, but awards are also given to anyone for those unique catching challenges.
For more information or questions about the tournament, contact Kay Allison at (806)228-5338.