Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Bateman Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby draws big crowd

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A record 302 anglers participated in the annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby last Saturday, June 1. In addition to the record turnout, a record-setting amount of money was raised, also, totaling over $7,000.

"We couldn't ask for a better day." said Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby Co-Chairman Steve Bateman. "We have had all kinds of weather (in the past) but this day was perfect".

The event gave out a record eight bikes. Normally they give out six, but a good friend and long-time supporter, John Lacy, donated a boy's bike so they did something special. They asked if there were any 5- to 6-year-old boys that didn't have a bike. Four boys stepped forward and were given a raffle ticket and a winner was drawn.

On the other bike, they called the raffle number for a bike. No one showed up, so they called another number and a young man immediately raised his hand. While he was on the way up to accept his bike, the first ticket holder appeared. They gave the bike to the original ticket holder and promised to make things right by giving the second ticket holder a bike also. The family of Melissa and Leanne Davis, along with their mom and Melissa's daughter, gave a donation towards a new bike, a very kind gesture on their part. The second ticket holder received his new bike the following day.

Co-chairman of the event, Stephen Gingras, gave an emotional speech on the fishing derby and how it is more than just a cancer fundraiser. Gingras remembered one of their childhood friends, Carl DeLuce, who was a big supporter of the event. From this year forward, the adult door prize will be dedicated to DeLuce.

They gave out an autographed picture of New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, which was donated by the New England Patriots, and a Coleman tailgate grill, donated by Injected Solutions Inc. The plaque, which bears Carl's name, was donated by ABC Financial. Carl's family was present, including his 94-year old mother, Mrs. Josie DeLuce, and Carl's wife, Tracy, pulled the door prize ticket (David Bowers of Lee won the raffle).

The following is a list of the winners.

Children's heaviest game fish category — 1st: Kolton Buck (largemouth bass, 3 pounds, 10 ounces); Braxton Gladu (smallmouth bass, 2 pounds 2 ounces). 2nd: Darryn Cassavant (rainbow trout, 1 pound 11 ounces). 3rd: Mason Chamberland (rainbow trout, 1 pound, 10 ounces).

Children's heaviest non-game fish category — 1st: Julian Smith (bullhead, 12 ounces).

Adult heaviest game fish category — 1st: John Ragoza (pike, 3 pounds, 3 ounces). 2nd: Tom Archambeault (smallmouth bass, 3 pounds, 10 ounces). 3rd: Jennifer Racine (smallmouth bass, 3 pounds 3 ounces).

Special heaviest fish category first place awards — Largemouth bass: Pul Cuddihy, 3 pounds, 13 ounces. Crappie: Braxton Gladu, 1 pound, 1 ounce. Common carp: Joe Trybus, 7 pounds, 12 ounces. Trout (Adult): Cameron Pularo, brown trout, 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Trout (Children): Mason Kucka, brown trout, 2 pounds, 1 ounce.

The Sportsmanship Award went to Austin Sayers, the Carl Deluce Award went to David Bowers and the Butch Patrick Award went to Jackson Cienciwa.

On a side note: Braxton Gladu, who won the perch/crappie Award, was also the second-place winner in the Children's Gamefish Award. Because one can only win one award in this fishing derby, he was removed from the second-place spot and given his first-place award.

Incidentally, this year a bowfin was caught. It is the second time a bowfin has been caught at the Bateman Fishing Derby in 27 years. Unfortunately, it didn't qualify because no awards were given in that category.

It is obvious that there is more at play here than winning a fishing derby or raising funds for the Jimmy Fund, as important as they are. There is a sense of community involvement, of getting the kids involved with the outdoors, of remembering those who contributed so much to this derby in the past and of remembering those who have succumbed to cancer.

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This community involvement is evident when one considers the number of people involved to put this derby on — the organizers, the ticket sellers, the cooks and, of course, the number of contributors (nearly 60 individuals and companies).

Congratulations to all, and thank you!

Youth Outreach Derby

At the same time as the Bateman Jimmy Fund Derby, 25 kids from the Hillcrest Educational Center and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition attended the Youth Outreach Fishing Derby, which was held on Reynolds Pond in Cheshire. Brandon Hoist brought the Hillcrest kids and Alex Daugherty, Liz Boland and AJ Bostwick brought the Coalition kids.

Each kid was given a fishing pole and equipment with which to fish, and when the day was over, they were able to take them home. Their equipment was all set up by volunteers by the time they arrived and they were provided with the necessary bait. Each time a kid caught a fish, a volunteer would clean it and put it into a plastic zip lock bag to bring home to eat. Around noon time, a meal of burgers, dogs, chips, soda and desert was provided.

The Berkshire County League of Sportsmen sponsors the event, providing the brook trout (which were raised in the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery), equipment, bait, and food. Volunteers from the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, East Mountain Sportsmen's Club, Adams Outdoor for Youth, B.A.S.S. and the Ashfield Rod & Gun Club provided assistance and made sure the kids had an enjoyable and memorable day.

Many thanks to Steve Bateman, Co-Chair of the Jimmy Fund Derby and BCLS President Wayne McLain for providing the above information and pictures. This scribe is sorry to have missed both events this year but hopes to join you at next year's events.

Old Mill Trail event

If you are not doing anything Sunday, June 9, you might want to join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council celebrate its festive day at the Old Mill Trail to celebrate and raise support for accessible trails in the Berkshires.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the trailhead on Old Dalton Road in Hinsdale. This "all ages" gathering features guided walks, music, food, and fishing in the clean East Branch of the Housatonic River.

It is free and open to the public, and you can drop by anytime for any part of the event.

Any donations will support upgrades and ongoing upkeep of this Berkshire gem. The Old Mill Trail was carefully designed for enjoyment by people big and small — amblers and sprinters — who visit on boots, strollers, chairs, or skis alike!

There will be fishing from 10 a.m. to 12:30 (anyone aged 15-and-up needs a state fishing license), and some gear will be provided. At 10:15 there will be a Hinsdale/Dalton history walk led by Alison Dixon of the Housatonic Valley Association, who created the Old Mill Trail's interpretive discovery stations. From 11 to 1, the Housatonic Philharmonic will be playing music. Food will be served from 11:30 to 1 via Hinsdale Trading Company, with a menu featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled veggie sandwiches, smoked pulled pork and local ice cream.

Special thanks to the remarkable Housatonic Valley Association for its outstanding stewardship of the OMT over the years.

Gene Chague can be reached at or 413-637-1818.


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