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Town gears up for ‘fishin’

“Come on, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole, I can’t think of a better way to pass the time o’ day.”

Many people may recognize these words as the theme song from “The Andy Griffith Show,” and many of them, such as Farragut resident Bob Watt, share that sentiment.

Watt, the town of Farragut and Lovell Heights Barber Shop are busy preparing for the 24th Annual Bob Watt Fishing Rodeo, to be held Saturday, June 21, at Anchor Park.

“Registration starts at 4 [p.m.] and we fish from 5 to 7 [p.m.],” Watt said.

“We furnish everything. If they have their own rods and reels and can bring them that is great, but we can furnish a few. We furnish all the bait; we weigh the fish, and then give out prizes,” he added.

Prizes are given for the largest fish, smallest fish and most fish caught, to name a few.

“We give prizes for just about everything,” Watt said. “We give out a lot of prizes. Everyone gets a free T-shirt that has [the name of] the fishing rodeo on it, and then most of our prizes are rods and reels. We have a few tackle boxes, but mostly rods and reels. All of the prizes are donated by Lovell Heights Barber Shop and friends of Lovell Heights Barber Shop,” he added.

Watt, a former member of TOF’s recreation committee for 20 years, said the rodeo began based upon a need for it within the community.

“I was on the recreation committee at the time, and I knew there was a need for something like this for kids that normally wouldn’t ever get to fish.”

Twenty-four years later, Watt’s enthusiasm for and dedication to the event has not waned.

“This is an event that kids look forward to. A lot of the same kids [come each year]. Of course, thirteen is the age limit now, and there are kids that fished last year that can’t fish this year, but their brothers and sisters come out,” he said.

“Kids come in and talk to us about it. Lovell Heights Barber Shop is a big sponsor, and the guy that helps me is a big fisherman. So kids come in the shop and talk about it and we put their pictures up on the wall after the rodeo and the get a big kick out of it,” he added.

Some previous participants return, years later, in other capacities.

“Several years ago this young man came up to me and said ‘Mr. Watt can I help?’ and I said ‘yes and it is great that you want to volunteer.’ He said, ‘Well, about 15 years ago you taught me how to fish and I just want to pay back some.’ I thought that was great that he remembered and wanted to help out that way,” Watt said.

Fishing has always been a big part of Watt’s life.

“I have been fishing all my life and I am 71 years-old,” he said.

“I fished with my father. My father taught me how to fish and I taught my sons and my daughters to fish,” he added.

The rodeo will be held rain or shine, except in the event, Watt said, of thunder and lightning, in which case he will try to reschedule it.

Anyone 13 years old and younger is welcome.

For additional information, call the town of Farragut at 865-966-7057.


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