It’s Derby Time 2019

This year the Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association Derby will be at Bennett Spring State Park on May 18 and 19. Some of us will arrive on Friday, the 17th. The Kansas City Chapter is taking their turn to be in charge. They’ll set up the tournament rules, obtain Derby and raffle prizes, accept the tournament donations, organize the picnic, distribute the prizes, and be responsible for making sure that the sun shines and it doesn’t get too hot. If you want to participate in the tournament portion of the Derby, you must sign in with your donation on Friday evening or Saturday morning in front of the park store. The times and rules are yet to come. Good news: the picnic will be at noon on Saturday at the pavilion across and downstream from the Whistle Bridge. Prizes will be awarded at that same location on Sunday at noon.

You can’t understand the Derby without knowing about the MTFA-State Council and how we fit.

You need to understand that MTFA-Springfield is not a totally independent club. It is through the State Council that we get our chapter name, our non-profit status through registration with the MO Secretary of State, our chapter insurance, and the right to operate our club as an MTFA affiliate. The same goes for the Branson, Kansas City, and St. Louis chapters.

Remember that we are a social organization. So, what good is a social organization unless we socialize? Each of the chapters have their own socials, such as the Fishing Picnic at Mountain Springs Trout Park, the summer fish fry, and the autumn chili feed. Once a year, we all get together for a big social event at Bennett Spring State Park. We call it “the Derby”. It’s a picnic, a fishing tournament, a fund raiser, a chance to win prizes, and a chance to get to know some of our fellow club members from out-of-town. I’ve met some fine folks from KC and SL, and I know almost all of the Branson people anyway. It’s a fun event. I camp out for the weekend, I fish, I banter with new friends, I tell a few lies, and I will accuse more than one person of cheating when their raffle ticket is the winner of a prize that I had my eye on.

In the past, I have noticed that the Springfield Chapter has not attended the Derby well. I have been a little disappointed to find that KC and SL members show a good level of participation when few of us bother to drive an hour for the event. I have often thought that it was because we were “day fishers” rather than “over-nighters”. The good news this year is that the picnic will be at noon on Saturday instead of an evening meal. In other words, we can drive from Springfield, have some fun, eat at the picnic, and drive home on the same day. You no longer have an excuse for not attending.

You may be thinking that you’re not much on fishing tournaments. Neither am I. I don’t enjoy competition with other anglers. I enjoy the competition between me and the fish and that’s not really a competition. I seek out an area of solitude and slowly become a part of the stream. However, I still buy into the tournament because the proceeds go into a cause I believe in. Even if you don’t want to participate in the tournament portion of this event, the food is still good and it’s a fun couple of days.

I understand that in the “old days” they used to have a dress-up event with black ties, long dresses, and dancing. I’m glad we quit that, but it makes sense to me that all the chapters should occasionally get together for fun, a picnic, fishing, and inter-chapter business. Be there or be square.