DIXON – The Cops and Bobbers youth fishing derby yielded only four fish Saturday, but no one watching at the end of the event would have guessed.
Dixon Police Officer Tony Quadraro, the event coordinator, reeled in the young fishermen so they could enjoy snacks and collect their prizes.
“We didn’t catch as many fish as last year, but we got to go outside and have a great time together,” Quadraro said, positioned behind the prize table that had something for all ages.
The eighth annual derby once again brought kids up to 15 years old, parents and police officers to Lowell Park for fun and positive messages in a relaxed environment. Cops and Bobbers is one of several programs run nationwide through the Cops and Kids Foundation.
The program was launched to not only teach kids to fish, but to get them hooked on fun outdoor activities instead of drugs and crime. Another objective is to give the kids an opportunity to see officers in a different light.
“It’s important to get the kids outside and interested in activities, but it also gives them a positive experience with police,” Quadraro said. “They see us dressed casual like this, and they see that we’re just human beings that have fun, go shopping, and do things just like everybody else.”
The girls seemed to have more luck hooking the fish on this day – and it was hard for them to stay humble.
“It’s cool that the girls got all the fish,” said Mallory Buskohl, 10, of Dixon. Mallory won the prize for landing the biggest fish of the day, a 28-inch carp.
In the middle of the girl power celebration, Mallory did remember to give credit to the boy who helped teach her how to fish – her older brother, who was there cheering her on.
“My brother fishes a lot and he used to be in the fishing derby too,” she said. “I did it last year for the first time.”
Lauren Dallas, 11, of Dixon, also was reveling in the glory of reeling in her catfish.
“It was really cool that we outshined the boys,” she said, while also giving props to one of the guys in her life. “I fish with my dad a lot and I really like it.”
This is Lauren’s third year in the fishing derby, and she plans to do it again next year.
“This is a fun activity that they all do together,” said Lauren’s mom, Jennifer Dallas. “We’re gonna come back and show up the boys again next year.”
Quadraro doesn’t have to wait until next year to interact with kids. He is the school resource officer at Reagan Middle School.
“I deal with any security problems kids bring into school, and work on education programs for everything from drugs and Internet safety to bullying and how to use 911,” he said.