Canton - Annie Oakley is history. Sarah Palin is yesterdays news. And the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana, is just a myth.
But young hunters and anglers can turn to one very real and very contemporary young woman from Lisbon for their inspiration: Ashley Beldock, 19, who has been named Grand Marshal of the 10th Annual St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament, presented by the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
Were thrilled to have her on board, said Pat McKeown, Chamber Executive Director, especially for this, the 10th anniversary of the tournament. Ashley has been in nearly every one of those contests, and weve watched her grow into a wonderful person and accomplished angler. Outdoors, fishing or hunting, is where Ashley prefers to be.
I love being out in nature, Beldock says. Id rather be outside than inside any time. Currently a student at SUNY Canton, she is hoping for a career in fisheries and wildlife management
She started carp fishing at around the age of nine or 10; like most of her outdoor pursuits, she was introduced to the experience by her father, Stephen Beldock. (The rest of the family includes her mom Margaret Beldock and sister Bridget, a junior at Madrid-Waddington Central School.) She remembers being in every Junior Carp tournament on the St Lawrence except the very first in 2002, when she was too young.
The biggest carp she has ever landed weighed in at some 33 pounds. One fish she had hooked wrapped around a pylon in the river, but she remained patient and just waited, a long time, for it to swim back around so she could net it.
Her favorite fishing is for crappie, she said, since everything is really quick and its a challenge to cast to the fish hiding places and not get the hook snagged. But she has tried for and caught just about every major species in the area. Her advice for young anglers is to be positive.
Luck is a big part of it but my Dad taught me to be positive have confidence that something will hit. Its definitely a mental thing, says Beldock.
With her father this year, she got her first buck, right behind the family home. Shes also into bow-hunting, and with either bow or rifle she has successfully hunted everything from rabbit to pheasant to coyote.
As Grand Marshal of the August tournament, she will monitor the two days of fishing along a 30-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence, assist with the awards and presentations, and generally be a spokesperson for the contest.
The tournaments first Grand Marshal was British actor Tom Felton, best known as the sinister Draco Malfoy in all the Harry Potter films. The St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament began in 2002, after Felton and his brother visited the St. Lawrence River for a carp fishing holiday. He pointed out to the County Chamber that there were no carp fishing tournaments for young people, and so the Chamber established the event.
The tournament is open to boys and girls ages 11 to 18. The 10th anniversary event will see higher cash prizes and plenty of special surprises.
Registration is $100 before July 15 ($125 after that date) and covers all activities, including the Mort Backus & Sons Fishing School. Registration materials can be downloaded from www.northcountryguide.com, or call the Chamber at 315-386-4000 to request a form and more information.Interested sponsors of the event or of fishing teams can call the Chamber, too, as can individuals who are always needed to act as marshals and general volunteers.