Bass anglers put finishing touch on 2012 Utah Summer Games

HURRICANE — It might seem like an odd combination, but when Jeff and Summer Kirby set out to capture a medal in bass fishing at the Utah Summer Games, the married couple was competing in their second event. Earlier in the games, they both medaled in arm wrestling.

“We both enjoy arm wrestling,” Summer Kirby said. “And we’ve been fishing practically since we could breathe.”

Jeff Kirby, left, competes in the men's under-154 arm wrestling division at the Utah Summer Games, Jun. 30, 2012.| Photo courtesy of Jeff Kirby, St. George News

Summer took gold in the 122-143 women’s weight class, while Jeff captured silver in the men’s under-154 class. Jeff Kirby, who was born with just one arm, loves surprising seemingly stronger foes with his well-developed left arm.

While the Kirbys ended up finishing a disappointing 12th in the bass fishing event, their experience matches those good times had by many competitors this year as the Utah Summer Games drew to a close Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a blast,” Summer said. “We’ve never competed in a bass fishing tournament before, but we’re just having a great time.”

Summer Kirby displays one of the bass she and husband Jeff caught during the bass fishing event at the Utah Summer Games, Jun. 30, 2012.| Photo courtesy of Summer Kirby, St. George News

Bass fishing was one of the final events in the games, which folded its tents Sunday until next June. Tyler and Leonard Hardy won the two-person event, which took place late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. The brothers totaled 18.03 pounds of bass from Sand Hollow Reservoir. In the competition you must catch three fish under a foot long and two over a foot long. The total catch is weighed and a winner is declared by total weight. The Hardys also had the heaviest single bass at 5.77 pounds.

Gregory and Daniel Camp took the silver in bass fishing (15.43 pounds) and Duane and Kirsten Pearson took bronze (13.72).

The quirky event shows the breadth of sports and competitions offered by the summer games, which also includes Ultimate Frisbee, basketball skills competitions, horseshoes and Pickleball, as well as 36 other events. The aforementioned arm wrestling was a favorite for the Kirbys.

“Our 9-year-old, Jarett, arm wrestled for the second year in a row,” Summer Kirby said. “He medaled last year and didn’t this year, but I think he actually is better this year. The competition was tough.”

The Utah Summer Games are directed by Casey McLellan, who said the variety is what makes it fun.

“We have a little something for everyone,” he said. “We’re excited to have added 3-on-3 basketball this year. There are a lot of great events.”

The games were founded in 1986.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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