August 20, 2019
By Butch Meriwether
MOHAVE COUNTY – It was all smiles at the Kingman Elks Lodge No. 468’s annual Fishing For Smiles children, fishing day held Saturday at Dunton Ranch located off Fort Rock Ranch Road. More than 150 children signed up for the Saturday free fishing day and a hoard of enthusiastic parents, relatives, friends and children showed up to Saturday’s event to show support for the anglers and were treated to a free lunch. In addition to Saturday’s event, about 100 special needs children and adults, and their family members, were also treated Tuesday to a day of fishing and lunch at Dunton Ranch located about 41 miles east of Kingman.
The smiling kids ranging from 2-17 years old and adults who helped their children, tested their luck and skill on some of the more than 500 pounds of channel catfish, some weighing up to 5 pounds, that had been stocked in the pond at the ranch courtesy of the Elks lodge. The Elks’ Lodge partnered with Scott Dunton who owns the 25,000-acre ranch, the Mohave Sportsman Club, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Sportsman For Wildlife Conservation and various other individuals and businesses to help make the fun-filled day a success for all attendees. Cost of the fish and the food for the humans did not cost the Elks Lodge anything. The Mohave Sportsman Club was instrumental is getting a $3,600 grant from Arizona Sportsman For Wildlife Conservation that defrayed the cost of the two fishing days.
“If the children didn’t bring their own fishing poles,” said long-time Elks member Bob Kay, “the Arizona Game and Fish Department brought and loaned out adequate supplies and bait so every child could enjoy a day of fishing. “The Elks Lodge has been involved in the fishing day for the children for more than
20 years,” Kay said. “and the event has gone through various name changes and locations, but for the last 11 years, it has been called Fishing For Smiles.” The fishing day has been held at the Dunton Ranch for the past five years and Scott Dunton, who owns the 25,000-acre ranch, has always donated the location at no cost to the Elks Lodge. Both Scott Dunton and his son Scotty Dunton, who is the ranch manager, were all smiles as they watched the happy kids catch the hungry catfish during the day. “I think the volunteers did a great job putting on the event and everyone who participated
had a great time," said Elks Lodge officials. "We are certain this will continue to be an
annual event for all to enjoy”.
Ten-year-old Drake Crose shows off his bounty of his fishing endeavor during the
Kingman Elks Lodge's Fishing For Smiles children's fishing day last Saturday at the
Dunton Ranch. One catfish Drake caught weighed in at more than five pounds.
More than 150 children signed up for the free fishing day Saturday and a total of
more than 400 parents, relatives, friends and children showed up and were treated
to a free lunch. On Tuesday, about 100 special needs children and adults also took
part in fishing day at the Dunton Ranch.
Michael Perry, the father of 6-year-old Macayla Perry and 5-year-old Paisley Perry,
helps to hold up the stringer of catfish his daughters caught during the Kingman
Elks Lodge #468 Fishing For Smiles children fishing day, held last Saturday and the Dunton Ranch located about 41 miles east of Kingman. More than 150 children signed up for the free fishing day Saturday and a total of more than 400 parents, relatives, friends and children showed up and were treated to a free lunch. On Tuesday, about 100 special needs children and adults also took part in fishing day at the Dunton Ranch.