|Arizonaís Outdoor Father of the Year for
2006 was selected by the Arizona Game and Fish Department
and ESPN Radio 860, and he will be treated to a dream
fishing vacation aboard a 59-foot luxury houseboat at
picturesque Lake Powell.
"The response we received was
overwhelming. Choosing from so many deserving top-dad
nominations was tough. In fact, there so many superb stories
of fathers passing on the great outdoor legacy that we will
share one these each week in the Game and Fish Departmentís
fishing report," says Information Branch Chief Bob Miles.
The Outdoor Father of the Year is Ned Rokey of Mesa, who
was nominated by his son Rick.
"Pop started our (my brother and myself) fishing
education just after we moved to Mesa in 1957. He would load
up the jeep and drive us to his favorite, Roosevelt Lake.
"Hard to believe, but in those days it was a dusty, bumpy
road crossing Sycamore Creek several times from the time you
left Mesa until you reached the lake three or four hours
later. A trip that long always had to include camping for a
couple of nights, so he not only taught us how to fish but
also to become proficient campers as well.
"I recall once when we forgot to put in a frying pan, Pop
showed us how to cook bacon and eggs on a shovel head placed
on the coals of a fire. We were taught to clean up our
campsite, extinguish the fire, and even to leave kindling
for the next person.
"When summer heat hit, it was time for trout fishing in
the cool, pine-scented air of the high country. It was on
these trips that Pop broke us in on the use of a fly rod and
also tactfully introduced us to the fact that
catching-and-releasing a fish was not only okay, but also
the thing to do.
"What a wonderful thing that our dad passed to both of
his sons: a love of hunting, fishing, and a respect for the
outdoors that has endured in us, and we have passed on to
our own families now for some 50 years. And what about Pop?
"Well, heís 87-years old, the proud possessor of his
Arizona Pioneer License, and we are privileged that he wants
and is still able to go fishing with his boys much the
time," wrote Rick Rokey.
Although only one dad could win the contest, be sure to
thank your dad this for passing along the valuable outdoor
legacy. And, Dad, the fishing is great out there.
Grab the fishing poles and take along the family to go
catch some memories.