By Moira Blazi
When Deder Sidner- Kelly first moved to Libby she attended the first annual Lil’ Anglers fishing derby at the newly completed kids fishing pond, at the Kootenai Business Park, formerly the old Stimpson mill site. Libby VFW Event Organizer Jule Mason, who later became Sidner’s good friend, had collected a lot of great prizes to give the kids.
Sidner-Kelly recalls “Jule told me I could help give out the free stuff, but I was a bit surprised to see that there were no trophies. Kids love trophies.”
The next spring, Sidner decided to change that. Being new in town she first thought … “I would find trophies in junk stores around town…” she soon realized that folks in Libby tend to hold on to their trophies but, being a creative soul, she decided to just make some. “For the second derby, I used fishing lures and dog tags that I bought at Ace,” she told The Montanian. They were a big hit, so of course the next year, tat he third annual event, Sidner bought some cool plastic fish, some semiofficial looking name plates, and lots of silver spray paint. She then hauled home some river rocks and did it again.
Now that this wonderful event is in its fourth year, Sidner-Kelly, although no longer a fulltime resident of Libby, volunteered to make the trophies again. Now residing in a suburb of Boston, Mass., she realized that shipping such heavy, solid souvenirs would cost a mint to mail, so she found some really cute, squishy fish, refined the design, and painted them gold.
Having retired from over 40 years of nursing, Sidner-Kelly is currently living with her sister outside of Boston, working as a traffic crossing supervisor and volunteering at the local arboretum.
She takes her responsibility to protect the kids seriously. The kids of Waban, Mass. are safe with Sidner, and now the Lil’ anglers of Libby have one more trophy to treasure, yet again this year.
The Lil’ Angler’s fishing derby was held last weekend, and this year the Rotary Club of Kootenai Valley joined the VFW in organizing and sponsoring the event. See page 11 for photos.