Kim Wilgocki had come out to Pawnee Park in Columbus the last two weekends with her family, but no one had caught any fish.
That is until 8-year-old Blake Wilgocki caught the first fish at Bikers and Bobbers Kids Fishing Event Saturday at the park.
The event was put on by Guardians of the Children Heartland Chapter, a 501(c)3 nonprofit where motorcycle enthusiasts help victims of child abuse and provide education. Bikers and Bobbers was an appreciation day for the kids, acting President Ed Bogue said.
“Hopefully by us being here today, it makes the kids comfortable with bikers. We’re not bad and it shows that we care,” Bogue said. “April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and we are all for the kids.”
The group has several of events planned for this month, including a pinwheel garden in town.
Saturday's activity kicked it all off as dozens of families and around 10 nonprofit members spread out around the water. Ducks swam in the pool at times, and some younger children played a game of fishing with fake fish and magnetic poles inside a kiddie pool.
Although the group held the event to appreciate others, different families at Bikers and Bobbers said they were glad to spend time together.
Ramon Hernandez was there with his two kids, who let their dad watch the fishing poles and blew bubbles at each other.
“(It’s a) nice day, might as well enjoy it a little bit,” Hernandez said.
One family has been coming to occasions like these for a few years. Crystal Givens brought her kids on Saturday, the youngest of whom was fishing for the first time.
Givens, a Columbus resident, said her kids love to fish. There have been other events like this, with different organizations, at which she participated.
“I just think it’s a great cause that they’re supporting,” Givens said. “It’s a chance for all the kids to come out without making sure we buy poles for all of them.”
It was a whole family affair for her. Her parents were there and were able to watch their grandchildren fish.
Before lunch, one other child caught a fish – 3-year-old Colton Valdez. His father, Anthony, sat next to him earlier as he fished. Colton held up the fish, smiling in his Spiderman shirt.
“We support the bikers against child abuse,” his mother, Ashley Wentling, said. “And it’s a good weekend to come fishing.”
Guardians of the Children are “really good” at what they do, she added.
“They do great things for the community,” Wentling said.
As the year continues, the nonprofit is planning on more happenings. That includes a big fundraiser in July and the second-annual car show in August.
“The more we can open up, the more we can do,” Bogue said. “Last year was kind of tough. We couldn’t do anything. So this year, we’re going to hit it pretty hard.”
Carolyn Komatsoulis is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at email@example.com.