Our crew for the Josh Snyder Memorial Annual Ice Fishing Derby is grateful for the article by Transcript Reporter Phil Demers recently. As the date for our past annual event nears, we realize that our decision to not host the event this year may have disappointed many people -- the people that have supported our fundraiser for the past 10 years. It was not an easy decision for any of us: We deliberated long and hard about taking this year off, but in the end, we realize that we needed to do this, to just take a break.
The JPS Ice Fishing Derby became one of the largest events in Berkshire County; something we never expected in our first year. We asked for donations from our community each year, and each year, regardless of the downturn in the economy, the local businesses small and large were gracious and gave to our cause -- the Josh Snyder Memorial Scholarship (for young sportsmen and sportswomen) at Hoosac Valley High School.
With the immense support of our community and all of the ice fishing families year after year, we not only were able to host an amazing event for 10 years -- ice fishing from midnight until the next day, and a wonderful home cooked meal and prizes after the derby -- but were also able to "pay it forward" every year by aiding local families who found themselves in dire life situations.
Our mission has always been to honor Josh and give back in his name. We are proud of our hard work over the years. Josh’s life-long friends and family (the JPS Crew) have all worked diligently for more than six months each year to make our event the success it became. Every year, some of them have traveled from as far as the West Coast to participate in the derby. Those friends, now in their early 30s with growing families and busy lives, have all found themselves in a different place in life this year.
We will ice fish this year -- something none of us have done for the past 10 years on our event day. We will gather together as the family we have become to once again honor Josh.
On behalf of the JPS Derby, thank you to an amazing community and group of friends and family for your past support. And when you are out on the ice enjoying one of winter’s best sports, tip your hat to Josh and our community. The derby, in whatever form it may take in the years to come, will be back. Be safe, and above all, have fun!
The author writes on behalf of the Josh Snyder Memorial Annual Ice Fishing Derby Crew.