Best kept secret in Henry Co.

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Rod and Gun Club wants to boost its membership

By Tommie Kendall

The Henry County Rod and Gun Club has been the best kept secret in Henry County for years, club president Ken Case said, but now he wants to get the secret out.

For just $50 annually, a family can enjoy the luxury of a fish-stocked lake, hunting and camping seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Since Case became president in 2007, the membership has soared to its current 160 members. The club is looking to increase that number by 2010.

“Our members can come out anytime they want, and enjoy a good family atmosphere,” Case said of the non-profit organization based along Sunnyside Road between New Castle and Smithfield. “It’s a great place to use as a getaway.”

The club’s goals are to increase membership, upgrade its facilities and provide a place for other organizations to use, including the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in the county. The club is scheduled to add a playground for the kids this week and will host a 12-hour catfish tournament starting Saturday night.

“We’ve done a lot but there’s a lot we still want to do,” Case said. “I have a lot of good ideas, we just need to take the time to do them. We’re looking down the road at ways to improve.”

One of the top objectives is to provide the Cub Scout Pack 412 and the Boy Scout Troop 421 a place to use regularly free of charge. Both groups — Cub Scout is for first through fifth graders and Boy Scout is for middle and high schoolers — have used the lake three times a year for one-night and two-night outings during the previous four years. Cub Pack 412 is based out of the New Castle First Baptist Church and Cub Scout 421 is based out of New Castle Methodist Church. While the churches will remain their headquarters, the Rod and Gun Club could become a staple in the programs.

Cubmaster Robert Rice said the Rod and Gun Club is a perfect fit for his Cub Scout Pack 421, providing “a good environment with a great facility that gets us away from everything.” They might erect a sign at the entrance to let people know the club is a sponsor of the group.

“We use it for hunting and fishing on the weekends and it works out great for us,” Rice said. “First off, it is a convenience being so close. Plus, it’s free of charge. During the five years I’ve been with the group, places have charged us money except for the Rod and Gun Club. We play games with a lot of teaching, have outdoor activities, practice safety, cook and do different things like that while we’re there. It’s a good place for us to take the boys.”

The Rod and Gun Club was established in 1954. Today, members have the option of fishing on the eight-acre lake, camping or hunting. The catfish tournament this Saturday starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until Sunday morning at 7 a.m. Those participating are allowed an unlimited number of catches, which are weighed each time they are reeled in and totaled at the end of the 12 hours. The top three finishers receive money, along with the person that catches the biggest fish.

For more information about this weekend’s catfish tournament or the Rod and Gun Club, call Case at Westend Sports in Eminence at (502)845-7256.

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.