SAFFORD — The 28th annual Fourth of July Fishing Derby grew to 134 competitors this year, with prizes for a number of categories ranging from most fish to longest fish, and a bunch of holiday and fishing-related items raffled off.
The biggest concentration of awards went to the Peña family over two age groups; and, apparently, hot dogs were the best bait this year.
Groups were divided into ages 1-6, 7-11 and 12-15. Trophies and prizes were given out for longest fish, heaviest fish and combined weight of all fish caught.
In the age 1-6 group, Daniel Carrasco won longest fish at 20 inches. Zenik Ramirez won both heaviest fish (3.3 pounds) and most fish by weight at a total of 5.65 pounds, beating second place by .05 pounds.
In the age 7-11 group, Reuben Estrada won the combined weight with four fish at 9.95 pounds. Sienna Peña won both heaviest fish at 4.6 pounds and longest fish at 24 inches.
Sienna Peña said, “I used weinies to catch my three fish. I don’t know how long it took. I’ve never won before. It makes me happy.”
In the age 12-15 group, Savannah Peña swept her age group with longest fish at 24 inches, heaviest fish at 4.8 pounds and the combined weight with five fish caught at 6.9 pounds.
Savannah Peña said, “Winning is good. I used hot dogs, too. We’ve done this every year, but I’ve never won before. It was cool winning all of it. Today had good weather. It was sunny, but it wasn’t too hot. The people I knew here also made it good.”
Event coordinator Joe Cervantes said, “Today’s derby was a really good turnout. I’m sure a lot of people had fun. The kids had fun.”
The free food was mostly donations, and the Sons of the American Legion and Post 32 helped volunteer to cook food, hand out water and snow cones, and get all the results recorded.
“Thank you to all the people and merchants that donated and came out to help. We thank everybody,” Cervantes said.