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Legion's annual Catfish Derby to honor founder Don Partyka
By G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE Anglers from around the area will be heading to the Connecticut River and its tributaries from July 15 to 17 to see who can catch the heaviest catfish during the American Legion Post #351 Catfish Derby.
The 31st annual fishing contest is presented this year in honor of its late founder, Don Partyka. The funds raised by the post by the contest will be used to benefit children with special needs.
Don served as the commander of the post several times, according to his widow Patricia and his daughter Wendy. He was an avid sportsman and fisherman, they said.
Last year, the contest drew 285 participants and raised $2,000, Wendy noted.
Patricia said her husband would be excited the contest is continuing and was honoring him this year.
Post Commander Kris Lecca said it is important to the post's members that they make a contribution to the community.
The entry fee is $10 and no tickets will be sold after 6 p.m. on July 15. Fishermen who've caught what they think is the winning fish they can enter more than one must bring them alive to the weigh in station at the post located at 50 St. Kolbe Drive. The station will be open from 7 p.m. July 15 through 2 p.m. July 17. The first prize for the biggest catfish is $300 and 20 cash prizes will be awarded.
There are three junior division trophies that will be awarded to anglers 14 years of age and younger.
Derby T-shirts will also be on sale for $10, which will allow the buyers free admission to the derby party on Sept. 17.
Tickets for the derby can be purchased by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org before July 1 or at the following locations: Post #351, 50 St. Kolbe Drive.; Granby Bait, 178 South St., Granby; Red Bridge Bait and Tackle, 1129 East St., Ludlow; B and G Sporting Inc., 1460 Russell Road, Westfield; Egg & I, 26 Main St., South Hadley Falls; Action Marine & Water Sports, 1470 Dwight St.; Mitch's Marina, 2 Mitch's Way, Hadley; Joe's Bass Bait and Tackle, 12 Dickerman St., Windsor Locks, Conn.; Marier Enterprises, 1624 Park St., Palmer; and BG Hunter's Pub, 182 Chicopee St., Chicopee.
Mayor Elaine Pluta said the derby is "another venue to offer family entertainment in the city."
"It's just a great event," she added.
For more information, visit www.post351catfishderby.com.