The Catfish Derby was started by Don Partyka with a group of his friends and fellow members of the American Legion Post #351 in the late seventies. Don wanted to incorporate his love of fishing, the outdoors, and family activities to help children that were physically or mentally challenged. Don was always willing to help those who needed anything, so he got together with his Post #351 buddies, Hugh Jones, Rick Sladeski, and Mike Bakes and started the Catfish Derby in conjunction with the Legion as a non-profit event to help programs, organizations, and families for enhancing the lives of these children in our community. With the generous help of local businesses, bait shops, sports writers, and tireless volunteers, the Derby took hold and became a tradition in Holyoke for over 35 years!!. Through the years, the Derby, and Don himself, have warmly touched the lives of many. Thank you to all who have fished, participated, volunteered countless hours, donated their time, money, words, and memories which has made the Catfish Derby and Don's dreams come true!
It takes a team of dedicated volunteers to make sure our Derby is reaching out to as many communities as it can so kids can benefit from our donations. We're fortunate to have some of the best dedicating their time, energy, and expertise to our cause, including the fishermen! Thank you to all who make our Catfish Derby events a success!
Any individual or business wishing to make a donation, or any family needing a donation, please send an email by clicking the link below or sending a donation to Catfish Derby c/o American Legion Post#351, 50 St. Kolbe Drive, Holyoke, Ma 01040