Conway Optimists hook some fun with All American Fishing Derby

Story and photos by Jeremy Higginbotham

With a motto like “Bringing Out the Best in Youth, in our Communities, and in Ourselves,” the Conway Morning Optimist Club lived up to that promise and was proud to host the 2021 Kids All-American Fishing Derby at the Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School pond.

Chris Jamison (from left), Davion Clegg, Demontre Clegg, Taylor Jamison, Tynisha Jamison and Antonio Jamison

“It was the first time we’ve ever held the event in June, and it was the best one we’ve ever had,” said club member Bill Townsend. The group had more than 100 kids attend the event which had been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.  

They awarded two prizes in four separate age groups that ranged from ages 3 to 13. The prizes were given for “Biggest Fish” and “Most Fish by Weight.” Additional sponsors included Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School, Walmart, Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker, Jerry Southard, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Julie’s Sweet Shoppe and First Service Bank of Greenbrier.

Tim and Jennifer Lee of Greenbrier with their kids Ayden and Briell made it a morning of family fun.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Joe White who passed in late 2020. White was a member of the Conway Morning Optimist Club, as well as a past member of the Faulkner County Election Commission. He served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, and as a board member of the Faulkner County Council on Aging, and was instrumental in acquiring funding for the John and Ola Hawks Senior Center.

He was a staunch supporter of the Pine Street Backpack Program, and served as a delegate for Arkansas at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. He also served for more than two decades on the First Security Bank-Conway Advisory Board. For more information on becoming part of the Conway Morning Optimist Club, contact Bill Townsend at 501.679.3601 or Ronnie Barton at 501.336.7200. The group looks forward to an even larger event in 2022.