By Michael Brewer
Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
The mountain community of Crestline-Lake Gregory is chock full of gems of people, places and projects. The 19th annual trout derby conducted by Rim of the World VFW Post 9624 Auxiliary falls in that lane of gems.
Few communities in Southern California offer such an elevated level of hospitality and connection as was offered by the VFW Auxiliary and its primary organizer, Jeff Yoder. As the VFW motto proclaims, “No one does more for veterans.”
With the logistics and people flow being managed by the Lake Gregory Company under the guidance of Nathan Godwin, the event was flawless and full of smiles and family fellowship.
With Lake Gregory recently stocked with 2,000 pounds of rainbow and golden trout, a battalion of children competed for the longest and biggest fish and its one-of-a-kind cash prizes for the winners. And, of course, the $2,000 in raffle prizes donated by the myriad of sponsors is a bit of a magnet.
The youth winners of this year’s trout derby are as follows:
The 3- to 9-year-old category:
• First Place: Julian Rojas, 16.25” and $500 cash prize
• Second Place: Nicolas Rios, 16” and $250 cash prize
• Third Place: David Ramirez, 15.5” and $100 cash prize
The 10- to 15-year-old category:
• First Place: Trevor Daniels, 17.8” and $500 cash prize
• Second Place: Alex Najera, 16.5” and $250 cash prize
• Third Place: Enrique Guiterez,16.4” and $100 cash prize
The 16-year-olds and above:
• First Place Jeremy Ramirez, 24”, 6 pounds and $500 cash prize
• Second Place: Jay Dell, 18” and $250 cash prize
• Third Place: Carlos Corona, 17.75” and $100 cash prize
“The fish didn’t fight much this year,” was the comment from 11-year-old Trevor Daniels. Another finalist, 6-year-old Nicolas Rios, told us he got his winner just 50 yards from where he caught his first fish at Lake Gregory when he was 4 years old.
Chaplain Joe from the VFW shared that he was “elated that all his comrades showed up.”
The band began to play as the fishermen headed home to cook those trophy trout. Nothing like smiling children to make your day. See you next year!
Mike Brewer is a disabled veteran of the Marine Corps from service in Vietnam. He and his wife, Lydia, moved to the mountain four years ago from Tucson, Ariz., where he wrote a column, Veteran Veritas, for the local newspaper.
He will be covering veterans’ affairs for The Alpine Mountaineer. Contact him at [email protected] or (909) 589-0903.