A wise man once said, “If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” Last Saturday, families throughout the Roanoke Valley gathered at Lake Spring Pond to register their children for the annual Ernest “Pig” Robertson Fishing Rodeo, a celebration that is now in its 69th year.
To say that the pond was filled with families of all backgrounds enjoying themselves would be an understatement.
“What I love most about this event is the life lessons I can teach my son and daughter who are ages eight and six. What goes into catching a fish – patience, teamwork and accountability – are all lessons that can be used in life,” said Roanoke County resident Trevor Stone.
Added Catawba native Curtis Robinson, “Growing up, my dad and I regularly bonded while fishing together. Now that I have three children of my own, I plan on continuing the tradition for as long as I can. That’s why I registered my family for Saturday’s event.”
Canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ernest “Pig” Robertson Fishing Rodeo picked up right where it left off in 2019. The specific time slots for various age groups were still the same: children ages five and six (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and children ages seven and eight (11 a.m. to noon). This Saturday, children between the ages of nine and 12 will have an opportunity to compete against each other.
There are some guidelines for the fishing rodeo: face masks are required, participants, when possible, must maintain social distancing, there is a six-fish limit per child, children may only fish in their respective age group, artificial bait is not allowed and trophies will be awarded to the top finishers in each age group.
Despite a 48-year age gap between them, Salem native John Anderson, 71, says that he and his grandson are the best of friends. “We had the fishing rodeo circled on our calendar for several weeks. I know that Johnny won’t be a kid forever so I’m cherishing all of these moments while I can,” Anderson said.
The Ernest “Pig” Robertson Fishing Rodeo has roots that date back to the 1950s. Sponsored by the Salem Kiwanis Club, many local businesses have annually donated money and prizes to help make the yearly occurrence what it is today. Proceeds from the fishing rodeo go towards special needs children and nursing home patients.