When Janie Miller pulled together a few Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) families to throw out their fishing lines on the shores of Delaware’s coastline 27 years ago, she didn’t dream that her simple idea for a day in the sun would become the largest non-sports event in the state.
Nearly 30 years later, Miller and her family enlisted the help of dozens of SODE volunteers and partner organizations to plan this year’s September 29th fishing trip to Cape Henlopen State Park, where 200 parents, kids and young adults from up and down the state turned out for Families Day at the Beach. As many people from upstate as downstate came to fish, enjoy a terrific barbecue and take the ferry ride from Lewes to Cape May, NJ and back.
The turnout was even more remarkable considering a mid-September rainout forced planners to reschedule the outing.
“We started this event hoping to bring a handful of families here in Sussex County together to enjoy some fellowship,” said Miller. “We had no idea how large the event would become. It now one of those events that families don’t want to miss, which is evident by the number who still showed up even after the event was postponed.”
Other volunteer groups included Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen Association, Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle, Rising Sun Masonic Club #4 – Milton, Kiwanis Club of Coastal Delaware and Rehoboth Beach Lions Club.
“This has truly become a beloved and very rewarding Special Olympics tradition,” said SODE Executive Director Ann Grunert. “We can’t thank Janie and her team enough for making this happen year after year.”
Friendly competition, of course, makes any day a little more exciting. Here are the results of the Hoss Cochran Fishing Tournament:
Biggest fish – Kevin Williams – Rockfish – 15 1/2″
Most fish – Laura Davis – a record #26!
First fish – a first-ever 3-way tie: Laura Davis – Puffer 7 1/2″, Christopher Waller Blue 8 1/2″ and Kurt Meyerman, Scup 8″