Youth anglers receive custom jerseys and rod and reel combo at Catapalooza for Kids.
CatfishNOW is always pleased to see the efforts of organizations that support youth fishing. The Catapalooza Fishing Expo and its associated Catapalooza for Kids are among those deserving recognition.
James N. Arwood (Hookers Terminal Tackle) teamed up with a host of vendors and enthusiasts to bring the First Annual Catapalooza Catfishing Expo to Pigeon Forge, TN in May of 2021. It was billed as a “family-friendly event with activities for all ages”.
Vendors represented boat companies, rod holders, rods, reels, bait tanks, fishing line, hooks, sinkers, and more. Visiting anglers were able to kick the tires and feel the drag on products they were considering to improve their catfishing adventures.
This year’s event will once again feature the popular charity dunking booth with all proceeds going to the Knoxville Children’s Hospital.
Frank Key used this gathering of catfishing enthusiasts as an opportunity to do something for youth anglers. He came up with Catapalooza for Kids. Frank wanted to recognize individual kids by supplying them with a personalized jersey and a rod and reel from sponsoring companies in an atmosphere developed especially for them.
The 2022 version of Catapalooza for Kids will follow the same basic format as last year. It will include a seminar and various other activities for the youth anglers. Last year, Hayden Gunther was sponsored by Jeff Jones Marine and was the featured youth speaker at the kid’s seminar where they learned about fishing and conservation.
Brent and Carolyn Jones have volunteered again to help with sponsorships, registration, and activity planning. They have arranged to have the popular scavenger hunt again this year and have already secured Kayleigh Bennett as the youth speaker for 2022.
Fourteen-year-old Kayleigh is an avid catfish angler. She fishes in tournaments with her dad, Josh Bennett. They have been tournament fishing for around 3 years and she has several youth angler awards to her credit.
“Dad taught me everything I know about fishing,” declared Kayleigh. “I’d rather have him as a partner over anyone else! It is the excitement that I enjoy most about tournament fishing. I also enjoy meeting new people, especially the ones I look up to on Facebook and YouTube!”
“I am very excited about the opportunity to speak at Catapalooza for Kids,” concluded Kayleigh. “But I am also very nervous at the same time. I have been thinking a lot about what I will speak about. I think it will be either my journey on how I came to where I am today or maybe talk about all the techniques and fishing structures that we fish.”
Just like last year, the kids are going to look great in their custom jerseys and they will certainly enjoy fishing with their new rod and reel combo. All the sponsors are to be congratulated for making the jerseys and combos available for the kids.
CatfishNOW applauds the Catapalooza organization for promoting the catfishing industry in general and for the added emphasis on kids at their event.
The 2022 Catapalooza Fishing Expo will be held at The Le Conte Center, 2986 Teaster Ln, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. The June 3rd and 4th, 2022 event has opened up the vendors to include all fishing. In addition to the catfishing vendors on which the event was founded, visitors will also find products from striper, bass, walleye, crappie, musky, and other vendors.