Family, friends, and aspiring fishermen gathered at Oasis State Park on Saturday March 25, 2017 with the hopes of hooking a prize-winning fish at the 8th Annual Spring Trout Derby, which is held to raise funds for the park’s improvement. Hosted by the Friends of Oasis, the day-long event provided participants and park-goers, of all ages, with a day of outdoor fun while raising awareness about state parks and wildlife.
Established in 2004, the Friends of Oasis holds multiple fishing derby’s and clinics throughout the year to provide a day of family fun and friendly competition. As of Spring 2017, 38 entrants had the opportunity to catch a prize-winning trout, with prizes ranging from $10 to $100.
With donations from members of the group and the community, Friends of Oasis put together a total of $900 in prize money as a fun incentive to get more fishers to attend. The President of Friends of Oasis, Charlie Kizer, believes derbies like this provide more than just a prize: “We give people something to do. It’s a long way to go to the mountains or rivers, it’s a nice place to come for picnics and we try to make it as accessible as possible. We help teach people, not only children about fishing and keep them interested in the outdoors.”
Over 180 people entered the Portales derby, but only a total of only 13 prize winning fish were caught. Bobby Russell, Zaliyah Viscaino, Marc Pate, Levi Miller, and Joe Ann Tucker were the lucky $25 winners while, Will Sorto, Xzavier Viscaino, Nathan Cozine, Johnny Fain, and Trenton Calderon all made a $10 catch. Sorto and Cozine each caught two separate prize winning fish, but the biggest winner of the derby was, Josiah Holguin, a young fisherman who caught a trout tagged with $100.
Oasis State Park Manager, Jim Whary trusts that community events are a positive way to spend time with family and to help gain exposure of state parks: “Once you’re on the pond you’ll see there are a lot of families out here and that’s what I like to see the most. Families just getting to do things together. It’s a relatively inexpensive day out at the park, so people should come out and enjoy not just Oasis but any other of our state parks.”
Whary hopes that younger generations will continue to learn about the outdoors and maintain wildlife for future generations to come. For more information on Oasis State Park or how to be a part of Friends of Oasis calls are encouraged at 575-356-5331.