FLW Hosts Special Olympics Fishing Derby

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM)-- The FLW teamed up with the Special Olympics to host a fishing derby for Special Olympic athletes and anyone else who wanted to compete on Saturday (April 16).

Dozens of Special Olympic athletes came to Lake Bentonville Park hoping to catch the biggest fish.

One of those athletes was Sean Cameron who was celebrating his 16th birthday.

“Well, let's see, for my birthday I’m going to be going out to eat sushi,” Sean said.

“It's just kind of ironic that we're having sushi tonight, and we like to tease him that he has to catch the dinner,” Sean’s mom, Kim Cameron, said.

Kim said they didn't even mind not catching any fish because the day was all about having fun.

“We're so limited here in what disabled children can do, so it's just when they have something like this it's really exciting,” Kim said.

The derby was a Play Unified event which is a campaign started by the Special Olympics to include people with and without intellectual disabilities.

FKW professional fisher, Cody Kelley said events like this are designed for all kinds of kids to play together and get outdoors.

“This might be the first fish they catch today or it may be that little spark that sets them off to get them addicted to the outdoors and get out there,” Kelley said.

Kelley said even the kids who didn't catch a fish were excited for the ones who did.

“They usually start screaming, yelling, cheering,” Kelley said. “We have other people out here, cheerleaders start screaming for them. You know, they don't care how big it is they just know that they set out to catch a fish, and they've done it, and you just really can't beat it.”

It turned out that the smallest angler caught the biggest fish. Five-year-old Ava was the winner catching the biggest fish of the day at 1.7 pounds.