Johnny Garcia said the looks on children's faces make his hard work worthwhile.
"Their faces light up, their eyes just glow and they say, 'Hey. Look at me. I'm a fisherman,'" Garcia said.
The chairman of Huck Finn Fun Day views those moments as payment for organizing the annual youth fishing day.
This year's event, which is for children 15 and younger, begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Registration runs until 9 a.m., when homemade fishing pole and costume judging begins.
The event's sponsors, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and Ladies Auxiliary and Colorado Division of Wildlife, present prizes to children in three age categories dressed as Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher.
At 9:50 a.m., the DOW and Moffat County Sheriff's Office will give a presentation on fishing safety and rules.
Fishing runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. No license is required, because Saturday is Colorado Free Fishing Day. Participants are limited to four fish. The DOW stocks the ponds with trout leading up to the event, Garcia said.
Then children in the three age groups -- 1 to 5, 6 to 10 and 11 to 15 -- can win prizes for catching the first fish, the smallest fish, the ugliest fish and so on.
"I just make those up as I go along," Garcia said.
Local businesses donated food to offer participants free hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and soda Saturday.
"Everyone should come out to Huck Finn Day because it's a great family thing to do together," Garcia said. "Fishing is a great sport. It doesn't take much time, and everyone can catch one."
Huck Finn Fun Day has particularly special meaning for Garcia because he's participated since moving here in 1963. The event has an at least 60-year history in Craig. The DOW used to stock the ditch by Craig Middle School for the event.
"We use to fish with real genuine willow poles," Garcia said. "That was the only way you could fish."
He said the event promotes fishing and family time, and is a fun way to celebrate the warm temperatures.
"And with kids just getting out of school, this is a good activity for them to start the summer with," Garcia said.
For more information on Huck Finn Fun Day, call Garcia at 620-4120.
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Huck Finn Fun Day
When: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Loudy-Simpson Park