Annual Tom Sawyer Fishing Derby held Sunday in Pueblo West

Event in its 12th year

PUEBLO WEST, Colo. - This weekend for the first time, Pueblo West officials moved the annual Tom Sawyer Fishing Derby from Saturday to Sunday.

It was a smart move.

Sunday's weather was warmer, sunnier and drier than Saturday's cold, wet weather.

Officials said 170 kids signed up for the event at Cattail Crossing Pond that featured a costume contest, prizes, food, games -- and, of course, fishing.

"Fireballs are the best bait," one boy said as he applied the small red balls to his hook.

Kids were allowed to keep a maximum of four fish; additional catches had to be released.

The derby was for children ages 4-15.

"We only go up to age 15 because after that, you need a license," Carol Cosby, director of Parks and Recreation, said.

"The whole reason why this park was developed, was for kids 15 and younger to be able to use our trail system and come fish without having to go to the (Pueblo) reservoir," she said.

But Cosby said attendance has declined recently.

"We had 500 kids sign up when the pond opened," she said.  "Maybe that was because the pond was new.  We had 200 last year.  I'm not sure why fewer kids are coming."

One parent offered a possible explanation.

"I think kids have a greater sense of entitlement," he said.  "They expect more.  Where else can you get food, fun and fishing for $5?  But that's not enough for a lot of kids these days.  But I enjoy it, and so do my kids."

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