Spending a little quality time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

By David Vitrano


GRAMERCY – The fish may have been a little shy Sunday, but that didn’t stop scores of area children from enjoying a day casting lines with family and friends along the banks of Blind River in St. James Parish.

The occasion was the Jr. Chopique Rodeo, sponsored by the St. James Boat Club. A large crowd of 122 children paid the 25-cent registration fee to compete in the tournament. The Boat Club supplied award and refreshments for all the anglers. Every entrant also received a ribbon just for participating.

“It’s been a quarter since my kids were fishing,” said Belinda Rouillier of the St. James Boat Club. “We have to do something for the kids.”

The Boat Club has been giving local children and their families something to do on the last weekend of summer for more than a quarter of a century now. Many of the fathers out on Sunday recalled coming to the event with their own fathers.

“I’ve been coming since I was a kid,” said Ben Dicharry as he sat on a pier with his own son, Cole Dicharry.

Besides creating lasting bonds between fathers and sons, the event has also shaped the career of at least one former participant.

Doug McClung, who is now a part of the LSU fishing team, first caught fishing fever standing on the banks at the Boat Club.

“It’s a great event,” said McClung. “It’s a great way to get started.”

McClung helped Commodore Craig Calagno hand out awards to the pint-sized fishermen. A full list of winners follows:

Largest Fish – Ages 0-5

• First – Haleigh Perilloux

• Second – Jalynn LeBlanc

• Third – Braiden Krumholt

Largest Fish – Ages 6-10

• First – Nick Dicharry

• Second – Kade Allen

• Third – Steven Major

Largest Fish – Ages 11-15

• First – Hayden Brack

• Second – Ben St. Pierre

• Third – Karoline St. Pierre

Most Fish

• 0-5 Group – Haleigh Perilloux

• 6-10 Group – Trevor Stevens

11-15 Group – Noah Miller

Outstanding Angler Award

• Ethan Seymour