Girls Rule ... again
By Senior Airman Erin Smith, 15th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 28, 2007
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- One hundred-thirty Hickam Keiki slathered on sunscreen and headed to 32 acres of lake waters nestled in Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden on June 22 for the free, 8th Annual Friends of Hickam Keiki Fishing Tournament.
Each child who participated in the tournament went home with a prize, however, Friends of Hickam members joked that the Keiki Fishing Tournament's name would soon be changed to "The Gerboc Challenge." After a Gerboc family member took the prize for the second year in a row.
Tournament winners included Nicole Gerboc, 9, and Jordan Bernhardy, 11, who caught nine and seven fish respectively.
"It makes me very excited," said Nicole Gerboc, a 3-year tournament veteran. "I didn't think I would win. [My family and I] like to fish and my favorite animals are fish. I [went] fishing until I figured out the secret of catching them from the people we meet there."
Peyton Killian, 11, was awarded first place in the girl's division for biggest fish with a 13-inch Tilapia. Isaac Caton, 5, won the boys award for biggest fish with a 10-inch fish.
"My favorite part of the fishing tournaments is reeling in the fish," said Courtney Gerboc, 12. "You never know what size they are or how they may look."
The FOH supplied the food, beverage, transportation, prizes, trophies, goody bags and volunteered their time prior to the day of the event totaling a cost of about $6,000. They also volunteered about 500 hours and the Air Force members volunteered more than 150 hours for the FOH Keiki Fishing Tournament.
Friends of Hickam has the tournament broken up into categories-- one for boys and the other for girls. When the keiki caught a fish, volunteers from Hickam were standing ready to measure and log the length and remove it from the hook.
Though the event was 'boys against girls,' sportsmanship and having fun were the main attraction.
These topics were touched on by Col. JJ Torres, 15th Airlift Wing commander when he thanked Friends of Hickam for putting on the event and gave the keiki a pre-tourney pep talk.
"This event is special since it caters to our entire Hickam ohana and provides an introduction to one of the many recreational opportunities here on the island," said Col. JJ Torres, 15th Airlift Wing commander. "We're out here to have fun today. Remember, sporting events should always be fun. Watch out for each other out there, take advantage of this great opportunity and enjoy your day."
The Keiki seemed to take the talk to heart
"All of the children and volunteers had a great time at the Keiki Fishing Tournament held by the Friends of Hickam," said Capt. Lisa Ryan, Hickam lead volunteer from Pacific Air Forces. "It was great to see all of the keiki helping each other and giving 'fishing tips' to their friends. The highlight of my day was seeing 5-year old Isaac Caton catch a 10-inch fish, which won him first place in the boys division for longest fish. And I was impressed when all of the children received a door prize at the end of the tourney, including fishing poles, tackle boxes, back packs and more. The Friends of Hickam really outdid themselves."
Judging by the smiles on the faces of the 130 children, the event proved to be a success. And FOH's goal of maing the experience in Hawaii pleasurable and memorable for all members of the family, was deemed successful.
"The event turned out well and everyone seemed happy," said Lance Terayama, Island Movers president and Friends of Hickam member. "It was a beautiful day and all the volunteers came out and worked well together. Colonel and Mrs. Torres also added a special touch with their enthusiasm. It was a great success for us and we look forward to doing this again next year."
Until next year, girls have bragging rights and the boys will have stories about 'the one that got away."