Kemmerer resident wins Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby

Kemmerer Lions Club President Mark Ristau, right, presents a check to Kemmerer’s Truman Jackson, who won the Male Overall Big Fish category over President’s Day weekend at Lake Viva Naughton. (GAZETTE PHOTO/Rana Jones)

The annual Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby was held over Presidents Day weekend at Lake Viva Naughton, 16 miles north of Kemmerer.

Amanda Heydt is the Lions Club’s treasurer. “Right out of the gate in the morning, tons of fish were coming in,” she said. The winner of Male Overall Big Fish was Kemmerer resident Truman Jackson. The Female Overall Big Fish winner was Brook Kaiser. For the category of Youth Overall Big Fish, the winner was Ryder Heap.

This year, there were 270 participants who registered for the fishing competition. In the past, the Lions used fish tagged with the prize amount but, due to insurance issues and stipulations such as controlling fish finders, they have gone to cash prizes instead. There is an hourly big fish payout for men, women and youth, as well as an overall big fish winner for the event.

The prize money was around $4,800. The source of prize money comes from local businesses and partnership with the Fossil Basin Promotion Board. The funds also cover advertising expenses to bring in tourism.

The fishing derby is the club’s biggest fundraiser, and the money goes back to the community for different causes. The Kemmerer Lions Club has been donating time, raising funds, and working with members of the community to help youth and elderly who cannot afford basic vision and hearing care, and to help better the communities of Kemmerer and the surrounding area. The Kemmerer Lions Club also helps to support regional organizations and events for the vision impaired and hearing impaired.

Heydt said this year there are six active members in the Lions Club, and they are in need of more people to be involved and be committed to volunteering to make events happen.

“We really need our membership to grow in order to continue to put on the Fishing Derby,” Heydt said, adding that it is a great cause. Regarding the organization, Heydt said, “It is very organized and structured, and we have a lot of support from the international club, as well.”

The Lions Club also puts on an annual golf tournament fundraiser, supports local scholarships and hosts a student night dinner.

“When you look around a small community,” Heydt said, “what you see and enjoy probably has had some hand from a local club or organization.”

She said community and club members play a large role in making their town a great place to live. 

“There are good clubs to support and get involved in,” she said, adding that she encourages people to research organizations to join in order to give back.

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