The Kids’ Fishing Derby is to Return in June 2024

by Doug Busey


Hello Fellow anglers.I wanted to pass along some information I received from Tiffany Ellis who is one of the chairpersons on the Kids Fishing Derby committee.

The Kids’ Fishing Derby is to Return in June 2024 as Reimagined Callback to Previous Years


Event planners for the Douglas County Kids’ Fishing Derby have recently announced the event’s return in June 2024 – much to the excitement of the crew and community members alike, who doubted that the Derby could be revived after its 4 year long hiatus following the 2020 pandemic.

The Kids’ Fishing Derby will be held on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd, along the banks of Willow Creek at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, and is a FREE event for kids ages 3- 12 years old. Each young angler will be provided everything they need to have a fun fishing experience, is allowed a 2 fish catching limit, and will be given a special gate prize at the end of their session. Additional prizes will be awarded for every special tagged fish caught, as well as to the children who catch the largest fish during each of the 7 derby sessions. While participation in the event is free, Pre-Registration is required to receive your child’s session ticket.

The event, which relies solely on the generosity of its volunteers and Derby sponsors, says the delay in the Derby’s revival was never about a lack of support or funding, but instead the difficulties of establishing a solid Board & Committee who could commit to the enormous undertaking that is planning the event. It takes an entire year to prepare for the Kids’ Fishing Derby.  Board & Committee members are required to attend an event meeting at least once monthly between August and March, with several meetings a month as the crew enters its registration period in April and May before the event in June.  

Prior to the Pandemic, which significantly impacted the Crew’s ability to host such a large, public event, the KFD also experienced several losses to its Board & Committees, and struggled to find good fits to fill the remaining chairperson positions. Many remaining members of the KFD did their best to carry the extra responsibilities, but ultimately, due to Covid restrictions and a lack of committee members to complete the many various tasks needed to make the Derby a success, the organization was forced to postpone its 2020 event just weeks before itself scheduled date.  For the next 3 years, the Crew continued to experience a shortage of event planners, and subsequently cancelled the event to both their, and the community’s, disappointment.

“ I tried for three years to encourage Members to attend meetings and get this thing off the ground again, “ recalls 2024 Derby President, Stu Hill, “ but it was really hard. We really wanted to have a Derby so badly, but for one reason or another just couldn’t make it happen. We needed more people… not just to volunteer during Derby weekend, but really tackle important committee positions.”    Derby representative, Tiffany Ellis, agreed, stating that many of the members the committee lost had been involved for almost all 30 years of the Derby, and many had reached an age where they physically could not continue to work the event in the same capacity they once had.  “ Some of those volunteers were hugely important to our efforts, and its been especially hard to fill their shoes since they’ve retired.”

The Crew says they are grateful, however to have found support and fresh ideas through the local Elks Lodge in Spring of 2023, when the decision was made to once again forgo the event that June and instead focus on reimagining the Kids’ Fishing Derby in 2024, with both new and returning Board & Committee members dedicated to reviving the beloved event and bringing it back to its former glory.   This year, the Board & Committee are as following: President Stu Hill, Vice President and Volunteer Coordinator Laura Ramirez-Lonero, Treasurer Jim Rooda, Secretary Marsh Wilkinson, Master of Ceremonies Doug Busey, Kid Registration and Media Chairperson Tiffany Ellis, Fish Procurement Chairman Bob Ellis, Set Up & Tear Down Chairmen Joe Lonero & Kevin Kenkins, Food Concession Chairperson Deb Cole, Retail Sales Chairperson Carol Babish, Fundraising Committee Tom Zogorski & JJ Hubbard, Bait & Tackle Experts Bill Hart & Dan Bennet, Volunteer coordinator co-chair Jeri Bennet, Media consultant Gary Beadle, as well as general Committee members Connie Richardson of Raley’s, Danny Lozano, Sky & Becky Dwinell, John & Anita Hefner, Jeff Cotter, Nate Schaffer, Bob Rittenhouse, Joscelyn Reid, and David Del Marto.

The Board & Committee is seeking an estimated 300 volunteers for the event. Jobs include assisting with set up & tear down, river help, food and retail sales, gate prizes, and more. Volunteers are given a Derby hat, as well as a Free meal ticket for serving in 2 or more sessions. Volunteers with less than 1 year of experience will be required to attend at least 1 volunteer meeting, although the KFD crew would like returning volunteers to consider attending a meeting as a refresher. Contact Laura Lonero at [email protected] for more information.

Registration for the 2024 Kids’ Fishing Derby will begin April 1st and will continue until the week of the Derby. Again, it is FREE to fish the Derby, but Pre-Registration is required to receive your session ticket. Forms for both Kid & Volunteer registration can be found at the Douglas County Community Center, Accolade’s Trophies, The Angler’s Edge, and AJ’s Stoves. Tickets can be picked up at either Accolade’s or AJ’s Stoves during their normal business hours, as well as every Saturday in April & May from 10AM – 1PM in front of AJ’s Stoves.  Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase at these locations at $2 ea or 6 $10.  Please visit the Kids’ Fishing Derby website for more information: or,  if you are interested in sponsoring this year’s Derby by making a donation, please contact Tom Zogorski – (775) 781-4754.

We hope to see you at the Kids Fishing Derby. This for the kids and families coming together to enjoy or explore a new way to spend time together in our great outdoors. Good fishin' and tight lines.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you have a question. a report in our local fishing area or have a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Hope to see you on the waters. Good fishin' and tight lines.

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