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ISA Day At the Fair (Video Added)

Mike Clifford

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Saturday, August 18th was "Conservation Day" at the Illinois State Fair, so it was fitting that the ISA would be invited by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn to conduct our Kids Casting Clinic once again in his tent.

Our 3rd year in a row participating in this event brought some ominous looking skies mid-morning and a brief period of showers, but we weathered the storm for an hour or so and got down to business for the remainder of the day.


Steve Jordan, Marc Miller and myself were able to mentor to many kids that told us they had never been fishing, along with quite a few that said they have, but "not as much as they'd like to".

So we still have our work cut out for us in our outreach efforts.


This was a little bit of work, and a whole lot of fun.

The looks on the faces of the boy and girl who won Daiwa rod and reel combos for hitting the bullseye was priceless. Every child was a winner on this day as they left with the usual ISA Goodie Bag full of fishing surprises.


For those that have never participated in this program, you really need to do it at least once.

You may very well get hooked for life.

A very rewarding experience that never grows old.


Some photos follow (with the obligatory video to come later):








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It is truely heart warming to see the ISA out there with the Kids and to have had the Lt. Gov. invite us to do this. It speaks highly of us as a conservation group and shows we are respected and in the eye of those in power. Great job people keep up this valuable work for conservation and the Smallmouths of Illinois.

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You betcha, Gary.

It is a big part of what we do.

As long as we have passionate people, we'll be right in the thick of things "making a difference".


Ya know what I can't get out of my head?

I swear the faces on those kids are starting to look familiar, especially the combo winners.


I have it figured that we physically put a rod and reel into the hands of 1,000+ kids each and every year, and that is no exaggeration- I did a little math to come up with that number.

At some point, we are going to come full circle with some of them.

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No buckets were brought this time.......HA!


...and I don't "throw" the rat. He climbs outta my pocket, I tie it up and he crawls into the water.


Nobody asked about the speakers and mics in the last shot.

It was late in our shift, and they were setting up for a guitar player.

Surprisingly, nobody took a mic stand down....

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This weekend starts on Friday night for us, as the kids stuff the goodie bags.

A special treat after the work was done (for Dad anyway) was the Joe Walsh concert at the Grandstand.


The last couple of videos I created were sort of in a serious vein.


I'll just quote the first words out of Joe's mouth as he took the stage......


"OK. Let's have some fun."


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You bet I made it, Steve.

After spending a couple hours of begging, of course.

Been a huge fan of his for decades, so if uncontrollable weeping and groveling was required I was prepared to do so.


The last photo was taken with my wife's camera phone.

The ticket stated no cameras allowed.

After I got inside, I noticed all kinds of folks with expensive cameras, and they said they just walked right in with them.


No passes or stamps given, or I would have gone back out for my Kodak and taken video of the show.


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