Officials christened the "Little Rascals Pond" at the Public Safety Center Thursday, awarding the grand prize in the "Name the Pond Contest" to 8-year-old
Nations won a Browning Gold rod and reel set with two lures and fishing line.
The Colorado Blue Knights law Enforcement motorcycle club, Chapter V, in Craig donated the equipment.
Sheriff's deputy Sgt. Tim Jantz announced the winner at the close of the COPS & KIDS fishing day Thursday. Children age 12 and under spent the morning fishing the stocked pond with local law enforcement agents.
Children harvested 16 fish during the 3-hour event.
Matt Moschetti, 4, took the largest fish, a cutbow that was almost 15-inches long.
Law enforcement personnel awarded prizes for the largest fish, the smallest fish, and even for no fish at all.
Jantz said the event gave the youth a chance to see that "cops are human, too."
Jantz watched the groundwater-fed pond lie fallow for the first year of the Public Safety Center's existence before approaching Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead about developing the pond as an outreach to youth.
"Buddy let me run with it," Jantz said.
Since then, Jantz said it has turned into a community project. Police officers, sheriff's deputies, Colorado Division of Wildlife and state parks personnel all chipped in to help Jantz with the idea.
Cashway donated fishing-related prizes.
"It's not just a solo effort," Jantz said.
Jantz said "a couple of inmate workers have taken this project as their own."
The inmates mowed the grass near the pond and The Memorial Hospital donated a tree, which inmates planted.
Suzanne Frappier, chief nursing officer, announced the donation of the tree in memory Edith Keller, a traveling nurse who passed away on shift earlier this summer.
The tree stands on a point that juts out into the water, the "favorite fishing spot for children," Frappier said.
Frappier said she plans a more formal dedication ceremony with hospital staff in late summer or early fall.
Jantz said he hopes the Memorial Plant-A-Tree program will continue to bring trees to the pond site.
"We want to make it more of a park," Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg said.
Jantz said he envisioned the pond to be a place where children could come and have a "real good chance of catching a fish."
He thought the local pond would be a good idea for youngsters who might not be up for a long drive to a distant fishing hole.
The DOW donated the cutbows, a cross between cutthroat and rainbow trout, for this year's first round of stocking.
"Slowly but surely, the project is taking off," Jantz said.
The Kiwanis Club, the Boy Scouts and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have contacted Jantz, planning involvement in the project.
The Little Rascals Pond is open for fishing to youth 12 and younger and disabled individuals under age 18. Pond hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 1 through Oct. 1.
For additional information, contact Sgt. Tim Jantz with the Moffat County Sheriff's Office at 826-2309 or 824-4495.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.