Angling for normalcy: Kid Fish tournament makes triumphant return

City of Lockhart Parks Director Chris Sager, right, hands an envelope to a young participant after she reels in a tagged fish.

For many living in the United States, March 2020 was when COVID-19 began to have a palpable impact on their lives by severely limiting live events and social interaction.
As cases began to surge and the focus on limiting the spread ramped up, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, school functions, in-person meetings and most of the toilet paper suddenly went missing, with seemingly only Tiger King and Zoom hangouts to replace them.
Those cancellations included local events like the 2020 Welcome Spring Day and Kid Fish Tournament, an annual municipal mid-March tradition revered by many in the community.
One year later, on a warm March Saturday at Lockhart City Park, Kid Fish made its return.
“I’m glad we were able to safely have this event as the situation related to COVID-19 continues to improve,” Mayor Lew White said. “We had great weather – for once it wasn’t 40 degrees and windy out, some kids actually caught fish, and those who didn’t still had a great time.”
The total number of registered participants totaled 120 at an event that featured a pond stocked with 200 pounds of catfish.
The event looked slightly different than usual due to COVID-19 precautions. Groups were set up around the pond in a way that promoted social distancing.
Face coverings were encouraged and hand sanitizer was available.
“The event went really smoothly,” Public Works Director Sean Kelley said. “We did not have any complaints or problems with people not wanting to follow the guidelines.
“An outdoor, open air situation like this one was a good way to return to having public events.”
While the pandemic has not yet ended, the situation has improved in Central Texas, according to Texas DSHS data.
Hospitalization rates in Trauma Service Area O — which includes Lockhart — have declined to below 5 percent as of Tuesday afternoon, and White said more spring and summer events were likely to follow.
“They’re planning to have the Chisholm Trail Roundup and Cinco de Mayo, and I’m getting more and more calls from people asking if they can have events,” White said.

~Miles Smith


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