Kids of the Month: Conway Morning Optimist Club’s 2024 Kids All-American Fishing Derby

Photos by Stefanie Brazile

With school out, more than 50 young people fished the 2024 Kids All-American Fishing Derby on June 1 at the pond across from Bob Courtway Middle School in Conway.

Michael Rodriguez Jr. (from left) and Ezekiel Rodriguez.

Sponsored by the Conway Morning Optimist Club, the Arkansas Game and Fish and Bob Courtway Middle School, the annual event was free and open to anyone aged 3 to 15. It included free hot dogs and drinks, along with a variety of prizes.

“It was a huge success,” said Marcia Wright, club president. “We had about as many adults as we had children since each child was accompanied by a parent or guardian. And there were about 20 volunteers, too.

“We want to thank all the people who helped make this a success,” said Wright, who is a retired nurse. “I appreciate Mr. and Mrs. Tony Bell with the Optimist Club in Jonesboro (Craighead County); First Community Bank, Sam’s Club, Starbucks on East Oak St., Julie’s Sweet Shoppe, Crossman Printing, Bob Courtway Middle School and Arkansas PBS in Conway; Bates Gas Station in Mayflower; the AGFC for stocking the pond; plus, all the volunteers!”

C. H. Turner (from left), Tony Bell (past TennArk District Optimist International governor), Rowena Pimentel, Delton Collier, Sue Barton, Ayden McGill (in front), Marcia Wright (president of the Conway Morning Optimist Club) and Carole DeLaney.

Wright joined the club a couple of years back. “I am proud to be the first woman and the first Black president of our club. I take my job very seriously. Our club is part of Optimist International, and our purpose is to help children.” Next year’s fishing derby is set for June 7, 2025.