CHESHIRE -- The lake will go without its signature round-the-clock ice fishing fest for the second year running, as the Josh Snyder Memorial Ice Fishing Derby has been canceled.
As causes, some organizers named fatigue, life changes like new marriages and young children among the group, and the rising cost of insurance purchased for the annual event.
But charitable donations enabled by the derby nonetheless roll on, and no determination has been made concerning future derbies.
"The [Josh Snyder] scholarship will go on for years to come," Nancy Snyder, Josh's mother, said Monday. "We have the money in a CD earning interest. We've done a lot and hope to do more. We're going to keep throwing ideas on the table and see what works for us."
A nonprofit organization -- comprising some of Josh Snyder's closest friends -- formed around the derby a decade ago, and gives a $1,000 scholarship to a Hoosac Valley Middle & High School graduate every year.
The organization also supports two Police Athletic League basketball teams and the Northern Berkshire Santa Fund and has given an estimated $10,000 to "families in dire need."
Nine derbies so far held in honor of Josh Snyder, who died in a 2002 automobile accident, have raised thousands and drawn typical crowds of around 500. The event was canceled last year due to the atypically warm winter. The derbies have seen fisherman reel in sizable bass and pike, with many first-prize winners tipping the scales at over 15 pounds.
"We decided to take a year off and regroup," committee member Bryan Kopala said Monday.
Kopala said he wasn't sure of the exact insurance expense but that "it's enough."
This sum was a consideration, but Kopala maintained that "[the cancellation] doesn't come down to expenses," which were secondary in the minds of organizers.
Cheshire Police Chief Timothy Garner said policing the event hasn't caused him any headaches.
"I had absolutely no concerns with the Josh Snyder Derby whatsoever," Garner said. "For years I've worked all night there on the police end and thought it was one of the better-run derbies ever to hit that lake. I hate to see it get canceled."
Additionally, a cleanup crew scrambled Sunday morning following the derby is part of the tradition.
"At 10 a.m. the next morning, you'd always see guys from the committee out there in trucks and on four-wheelers collecting trash," Garner said.
Snyder added, "And after being up for 48 hours."
She said there was "less and less" to pick up in each successive year, as trash receptacles were added. In prior years, committee members have delivered letters to residents with houses on the lake notifying them of the coming event.
Garner said he's logged some complaints from nearby residents in the past. According to Snyder, though, "everyone has been great" and some even took part.
Heading into February, the month of the derby, the lake's ice cover remains a bit scant. The town requires 14 inches before such a derby can be held while last weekend, a thickness of fewer than 12 inches was observed by fishermen in various areas.
A Snyder Derby dinner held annually at the Bounti-Fare Restaurant -- including last year -- is also canceled. Snyder and Kopala thanked committee members and volunteers, numbering roughly 50 each year.
To reach Phil Demers, email