KAHOKA, Mo. -- Tony Kincaid finds it hard to believe the "Kids vs. Fish" tournament he hosts every spring is now 10 years old.
"It's getting to be a real big thing," he said.
The 2019 tournament is slated to take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18, at Fox Valley Lake north of Kahoka.
The event is open to "any kid of any age" who shows up, even if they're from outside of Clark County, he said.
Two years ago a record 225 kids showed up. Then last year the number dipped back to around 140, which still made it one of the largest turnouts ever.
Youngsters who take part in the event get a chance to go fishing, win prizes and have fun.
"We have food, prizes, trophies, and it's all free," Kincaid said. "If you don't have a fishing pole, we will supply you with one. We even have the bait."
Kincaid spent the past year soliciting donations of prizes from area merchants.
"We have a couple hundred prizes we're going to give away," he said. "We'll have fishing poles, tackle boxes, backpacks and sleeping bags."
Plenty of volunteers will be on hand to help the kids fish, to hand out prizes and to serve up lunch.
That volunteer assistance "is what makes it all possible," Kincaid said.
Kincaid started the fishing tournament a decade ago because he wanted to create some happy memories for young participants. He knows from first-hand experience how wonderful such memories can be.
Kincaid will never forget the day when he was 7 years old and a family friend came to the house offering to take Kincaid to a kids' fishing tournament at Deer Ridge Lake in Lewis County. Kincaid came home with a first-place trophy and a $2 bill for catching the biggest fish.
He even got his picture in the paper. His mother cut out the article, and "I kept it in my pocket until she washed it," he recalled.
"That was 46 years ago, and I still remember it like it was yesterday."
Kincaid continues to organize the "Kids vs. Fish" tournament each year because "I'm hooked on it," he said.
"When you see a child catch a fish for the first time, you want to try harder the next year to make sure they have everything they need so they can go out and catch another fish."
No reservations are needed for the tournament. Kids need only to show up at the lake and be ready to have some fun.
More information is available by calling Kincaid at 660-342-0228.