Family activities featured at Dugout Days | New

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SUTTON – Dozens of young fishermen gathered around Clark’s Pond for the traditional Friday afternoon fishing contest as part of Dugout Days, the community’s annual summer festival.

Four-year-old Sawyer Hultman from Omaha was the first to catch a fish at the event, sporting his all-new fishing rod featuring Olaf from the Disney movie “Frozen”.

His mother, Brittany, said Sawyer was eager to test out his new cane.

“She was waiting for him,” Brittany said. “She likes to fish – for the first 10 minutes.”

During the hour-long event, Sawyer caught six fish – a mix that his father, Phil, believed to be blue gills and / or pumpkinseed.

“They’re just babies,” Sawyer said of his takes.






Audra Leichleiter helps her daughter, Kai Leichleiter-Moe cast her fishing line during Sutton’s Dugout Days Fishing Competition Friday at Clark Pond.



Phil said they had been fishing with Sawyer before, but this was their first time in the tournament. Sawyer’s grandparents and great-grandparents were also on hand to cheer him on.

Phil and Brittany said they enjoy bringing their kids back to Sutton for the annual event. Brittany graduated from high school in Sutton and has family who still live in the city. Her birthday also often coincides with the annual Dugout Days event.

“It’s something that we look forward to every year,” Brittany said. “It’s nice to bring our family here and give them the same things that we went through growing up.

As the kids caught fish, they alerted the judges to the event. After each was counted, he was released into the pond.






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Clint Ochsner (right) pulls out a water turtle caught by Brody Schelkopf (left) during Sutton’s Dugout Days fishing competition Friday at Clark Pond. The turtle was going to be returned to the pond after the competition.



The participants were divided into two categories, 8 years and over and 9-14 years. Prizes were awarded for the most caught fish and the longest fish in each category.

Of the younger anglers, Blair Freese caught the most with a total of 10 fish and Levi Parrish shot the longest at 25.5 inches.

For the older kids, Caymen Hartman caught the most fish with nine fish and Ian Spearman caught the longest at 25.5 inches.

Ian, 12, caught three sizable catfish during the event.

“I’m lucky when it comes to fishing,” he says.

Ian said he enjoys fishing, hunting and a variety of outdoor activities that he did with his father, John Spearman of Sutton.

“It can be boring, but once you get the fish, there’s nothing more fun,” he said. “Sometimes people have a hard time getting started. After you catch a fish, nine times out of 10, you will continue to fish.






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Camden Mau (left), Kamryn Steinhauer and Elsa Andersen compete in the Sutton’s Dugout Days fishing competition on Friday at Clark Pond.



John said holding the annual fishing contest is a great way to get kids out of the house and away from their cell phones for a while.

AJ Bergen, director of the Sutton branch of Cornerstone Bank, said the bank sponsors the fishing competition every year.

“It’s just good awareness for these kids,” he said. “It brings families out. There are many children who cannot hunt and fish as much as they used to.

The fishing competition was just one of the many activities organized in Sutton as part of the Journées des pirogues, made even more special this year as the town also celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding.

The four-day celebration includes a carnival, parade, wildlife encounters, golf tournament, concert, July 4th fireworks display and more. The activities are designed to be fun for all ages, and many of them are especially appealing to families with young children.

As the fishing tournament followed, charcoal smoke from an open-air fireplace emanated from the city park and the aroma of grilled chicken wafted through the air.

Chris Moore, captain of the Sutton Volunteer Fire Department, said the service had organized the meal as part of the Days of the Canoe for 60 to 70 years. Technically, this is a firefighter fundraiser, but Moore said the main goal is to pay for supplies for meals.

The meal includes half a chicken, grilled over an open fire designed for this task about 60 years ago. The grates fit into the notches along the edges of the hearth, making it easy to turn the chicken.

Moore said firefighters, police and other community members helped prepare 900 chicken halves throughout the afternoon to be ready for the evening meal, which also includes chips, beans and a bottle of water.

The meal is a way to give back to the community, to show support for the Days of the Canoe, and to teach the next generation the importance of community values.

“The kids are always here to help,” Moore said. “It’s a family deal for the firefighters.”

The upcoming schedule includes:

8:00 am: Breakfast at City Park

8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m .: For Horse Coffee Trailer at City Park

9:30 a.m .: Sutton Chamber children’s races (no bikes) at municipal park

10 a.m .: Wildlife encounters in front of the federated church of Sutton

10 a.m. to 2 p.m .: Inflatable houses and water slides at City Park

10:00 am: XL Yard Pong tournament at City Park

10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m .: Auto show at Butler Estates

10:30 am: Hot dogs and nachos at City Park

11 a.m .: Kindermusik by Michelle Schmer at City Park

11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m .: Lunch by The Local Harvest Food Trailer at City Park

11h00: Tacos El Mantecada food trailer at City Park

11:30 am: Children’s coin game at City Park

Noon: Wildlife encounters in front of the federated church of Sutton

1 p.m .: Kindermusik by Michelle Schmer at City Park

1 p.m .: Cornhole tournament at the Sutton fire station

2:00 p.m .: Wildlife encounter in front of the federated church of Sutton

2 p.m.-5 p.m .: Pavelka Polka Band at the Sutton American Legion Club

2 p.m.-5 p.m .: House beer contest at the Sutton American Legion Club

5 p.m .: pork barbecue south of downtown Cornerstone Bank

5 p.m .: Rib and beer garden at the Sutton American Legion Club

5 p.m. to midnight: Dugout Carnival on Saunders Avenue

6 p.m .: Dugout Parade, start of programming 5:15 p.m. in the parking lot of Sutton high school

After the parade: community photo in front of Clay County News

8 p.m. to midnight: Street dance featuring West Wind at the Sutton American Legion Club

11 a.m .: Jamber-Q food truck at Fox Hollow golf course

11:00 am: Chicken buffet lunch at the Sutton American Legion Club

12:30 p.m .: 9-hole adult / child golf tournament at Fox Hollow Golf Course

3:30 p.m .: 9-hole adult golf tournament at Fox Hollow Golf Course

Dark: Fireworks at Fox Hollow Golf Course






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