El Dorado youth spokesperson for C.A.S.T. for Kids
At age 11, El Dorado youth Riley Brown has already been fishing for many years. That love of fishing was apparent to the organizers of the C.A.S.T. For Kids as they were choosing this year's spokesperson for the event.
Brown, a fifth grader at Grandview Elementary, is the 2009 State of Kansas spokesperson for Catch A Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) For Kids Foundation.
"Almost just by fate we met last year," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tom Spencer, C.A.S.T. event director.
They met at last year's C.A.S.T. event.
"The next thing you know he joined the KHP Reel Deal Youth Fishing Club," Spencer said.
"Riley, if you think about it, is the perfect spokesperson," he said. "He's always got a smile. He's got the right attitude. He's an inspiration for everyone. We're real excited for Riley to be involved."
Despite being in a wheelchair, his family said that has not slowed him down.
"He is always thinking beyond what he can do to make something work," Spencer said.
Spencer said he could see Brown continue up through the organization to the national level.
"I thought it was pretty cool," Brown said of being chosen.
Brown said he has fished a little bit for a long time and recently gotten more serious about it.
When asked what he enjoys about fishing most, Brown said, "catching big fish."
He has learned several important skills, such as to have tight lines and the importance of patience, as well as setting the hook. His favorite lure is a Pumpkin Chartreuse Lizard and his favorite location to fish is the El Dorado Lake.
Since his announcement as spokesperson, Brown has been busy attending area events promoting C.A.S.T. For Kids.
But first they created a video of Brown which can be viewed on You Tube, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Spencer's site at www.tomspencerbassin.com, Fishing Tackle Forum and C.A.S.T. For Kids Web sites.
They went to Gander Mountain and Spencer's garage, as well as the El Dorado Lake to film the video promoting this year's event at the lake June 13.
"We're trying to recruit boaters," Spencer explained. "Riley is basically our spokesperson to gather up boaters this year."
Riley also has been in the Newton parade, as well as the Derby festival. They also have plans to be at Prairie Port this year. He also attended the Kansas Bass Chapter Federation banquet in Wichita, where he got to meet Ray Scott and got his autograph. Later this year, he will be traveling to some events out of state as well.
This year's C.A.S.T. event will be held at Shady Creek Marina at the El Dorado Lake.
"Shady Creek, they just bend over backwards for us," Spencer said. "There are some folks that really step up here."
Spencer also is trying to get more local boaters and businesses involved. They are specifically looking for 10 to 12 pontoon boats for this year's event, which will have about 50 kids.
C.A.S.T., a partnership with the KHP, also allows the highway patrol to promote safety to the youth. They bring out the roll over machine and the Convincer. The El Dorado Fire Department also participated in past years.
They also have brought in fishing celebrities. This year, Art Paisley, the national program director for C.A.S.T. will be in attendance.
Brown is sending out letters to help generate support for the event. The event is first opened to Butler County youth who are disabled or disadvantaged, then it is opened up to this region.
Spencer said it fills up fast each year. The event is steered toward youth ages 7 and 14 and gives them the opportunity to go out on the lake on a boat and fish. The children are matched up with experienced anglers from several BASS Federation clubs or other organizations. Parents have to attend the event with their children and pre-registration is required. Participants get a t-shirt, hat, rod and reel, plaque and tackle box full of tackle. There is no cost to families to participate.
"It's a great event for us and the kids," Spencer said. "Everybody together, we put on a pretty awesome event. I expect this year's to be better than ever."
Donations are tax deductible. Those who donate $250 will get their business logo on their shirts, but they will be going to print soon, so they need those donations as soon as possible.
"My family and I really want Butler County to really shine, since the event is in my hometown and we can't do it alone," Brown wrote in the letter he is sending out soliciting assistance.
For more information on volunteering, donating or signing up to participate in this year's event, contact Spencer at 258-6207 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More information can also be found at www.tomspencerbassin.com or www.castforkids.org.