Catching Fish, Making Memories
Something amazing happens up in Rhinelander, Wisconsin every year. Moms stay home, dads load up their vans with the kids, and a caravan full of fatherly time careens towards the town’s camping resort for their annual Dads & Kids Fishing Trip.
Everyone could use a bit more family fun activities, community getaways and coming together for something just plain out of the ordinary. From Fourth of July family reunions to high school best friend camping trips, there’s nothing like cutting the chord from the real world for a little while and reconnecting with the folks who really matter most.
On the 40th anniversary of Rhinelander’s big fishing trip, Nicole wanted to get a song written for everyone involved to make them happy, laugh and feel sentimental before they cast off for the week. Their song and story is a reminder to us all to give a bit more attention to our fam, gone fishin’ or otherwise.
“We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Dads and Kids Fishing Trip and want to honor Mike Casey through this song while also highlighting this trip and how important it is to us and the fun things we associate with it.”
“The first trip was in 1977 and took place in Boulder Junction, WI. It started with a few dads who wanted to spend time with their kids and evolved from there! It started as a small group and now has grown to approximately 100 people.
In 1982, we made the move from Boulder Junction to Rhinelander, WI. The resort we stayed at was Miller’s, and we frequented the bar on the same lot that’s called Bert’s. Now the name of the bar is Fisher’s, but everyone still refers to it as Bert’s. When Miller’s shut down, we moved down the road to Holiday Acres Resort. For the past 40 years, Mike Casey has been the organizer and this year is his last year as the lead organizer. Next year, someone else will become the main organizer, so this trip will continue for at least 40 more years hopefully!
On this weekend getaway, there is a lot of alcohol, little supervision, no rules, no moms, no healthy food, no bedtime, no tv, no sleep. Only rule is to come home crabby and unshowered. Even though it’s called the Fishing trip there is actually very little fishing that gets done, but lots of time fishing for the one that got away. When people do fish, only a few are successful.
Some funny stories entail the police pulling over the pontoon boat and a kid being left behind one year in the caravan on the way up (the dad thought the kid was in another car — the last car in the caravan noticed the kid running out of the gas station and then turned it into a joke played against the dad as the kid hid in the car and they pretended that she wasn’t actually there).
Each kid that attends the trip is awarded a trophy on the last night for something “amazing” they did throughout the weekend, can range from serious (biggest fish caught) to silly (made their horse poop first). After all the kids get their trophy, one token dad is awarded the coveted “Turkey Award”. This award goes to the dad that screwed up the most or had the biggest fail of the weekend.
Some events we always do are a pub crawl with the townies at the car show in downtown Rhinelander, Fish Fry Friday’s at Bert’s, Cross Country Bocce Ball across the campsite, Pontoon boat rides, jet skiing, horseback riding, go karts, (attempted) fishing, Dads VS Kids basketball games, the awards ceremony, BBQ lunch, and a video screening of the pictures and highlights from last year’s trip.
Some memorable things associated with this trip is the use of the Miller’s dinner bell, to alert us to when the dining hall was serving meals, the high wing count at Bert’s bar for our group over the extended weekend, and being so drunk that you might wake up with a fish in your bed the next day. It almost always rains at least one day while we are up there, and the mosquitos are usually swarming. And there is also a Mike Casey day in both Chicago, IL and Rhinelander, WI dedicated to him for all the work he’s done of putting this trip together.”
This reminds me of an annual fishing trip me and my pops used to take back in the day. I lost him a few years back and think about it often. These parents are building life-long memories with their children. God bless them. – Tom