Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
June 13, 2011
Crabbing and Fishing Rodeo at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Gives Visitors a Taste of the Outdoors
At the stroke of nine, crabbing and fishing began at the North Pond of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Over two hundred visitors had lined up at the gate, some since 6:30 that morning, so they could participate in the annual Crabbing and Fishing Rodeo on Saturday, June 11. Between 9:00 am and noon, hundreds of blue crabs were caught which brought a smile to everyone’s face throughout the morning. According to Cindy Heffley, Visitor Services Specialist, “Many participants pulled in crabs as soon as their bait hit the water. After having a few years of low counts of crabs, this was a welcome change. But, as one father pointed out to me, it’s all about having fun in the outdoors more than anything.” Many participants have been coming since they were children and now bring their own children. The Rodeo, held on the second Saturday in June each year, has truly become a family tradition.
A light breeze and occasional cloud helped keep everyone cool enough to be comfortable. Both young and young-at-heart tried their hands at crabbing with collapsible traps and hand lines. Most stayed on the land while others got in the water to wrangle up the crabs. Manteo resident Audra Shackelford enjoyed the morning with her son Meade and his friend Brady. “We almost forgot about it until I saw it on Facebook this morning,” Shackelford remarked referring to the social networking site on the internet. “Once I saw it, I rounded up the gear and headed over. I’m glad we got here since it’s such a beautiful day!”
At the close of the rodeo, all children 12 and under waited eagerly on the front porch of the visitor center to hear their number called so they could select a prize. Once again, area businesses stepped up to the plate to donate a variety of fun prizes. Heffley mentioned, “Many businesses seem to look forward to the event so they can contribute. This year we had a few new businesses help out. Whether it was a gift certificate or merchandise, these area businesses helped assure that each child received a prize.” Those businesses included: Armstrong's Seafood, Bird Store, Cloud Nine, Cotton Gin, Farmers Daughter, Food Lion, Grits Grill, Harris Teeter, Jennette's Pier, Jockey's Ridge, Lost Treasure Mini-Golf, RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills, Mutiny Bay Golf, Nags Head Bowling Center, Oceans Beachwear, Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, Parrot Bay Trading Co., Peanut Shop, Reef, Salty Paws Biscuits, Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, Sea Treasures, Starbucks Coffee, TW's Bait and Tackle, West Marine, Whalebone Tackle, and Wings.
Photos of this and many other events at the refuge can be viewed online on Facebook.com at the Friends of Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge page. To learn more about the many things you can do at the refuges, visit http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/spec.html or contact us at 252-473-1131.
Audra Shackleford along with her son Meade and friend Brady holding their first catch of the day. Photo Credit: Heffley/USFWS.