The hot weather watersports season kicked off at Lake Wylie’s Ebenezer Park Saturday for the three-day Memorial Day weekend with a throng that packed York County’s only public swimming hole. The first intrepid swimmers braved the still-cool water after the swimming season signs were pounded into the ground announcing swimming was open starting Saturday for the next three-plus months.
“We expect crowds this weekend - people have been waiting for Memorial weekend,” said Park Ranger Robert Thomas.
The park is open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Swimming is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lifeguards are on duty.
All 69 campground slots were filled before noon Saturday. Hundreds of people caught the sun and barbecued hot dogs and burgers. Boaters came by the hundreds.
The York County Sheriff’s Office boat patrol was out on the lake checking for safety and proper flotation and emergency equipment, and enforcing laws about proper boat use. It is illegal to operate a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The sheriff’s office has two full-time lake officers who were working Saturday.
And Pearl Holloway celebrated her 7th birthday Saturday by not just going fishing with her stepfather, Derrick Compton, but winning the Foothills Bass Anglers His & Hers Tournament against more than 50 entrants.
Pearl beat them all with a 5-pound whopper of a largemouth bass.
“I had a 4-pounder, too,” Pearl said in her first ever media interview on the fishing circuit at age 7.
The fishing tournament people even made sure that Pearl was mentioned as the winner, to the applause of the crowd.
“Beat by a girl,” chuckled one exasperated fisherman. “On her birthday.”
These fishing guys and girls have expensive boats and expensive poles and sonar and lures and more. Pearl had a pink fishing pole and her favorite hat and she rode on her stepfather’s boat and that was enough.
“She beat everybody,” said her stepfather.
Pearl beat burly guys in beards and sleeveless camouflage t-shirts and wives and girlfriends and even a few grannies and grandpas.
Then Pearl talked about how she got a Duck Commander shirt for her birthday, an iPod because now that she is age 7 she is a big girl and a big girl must have an iPod, and reluctantly admitted she one day hopes to be a veterinarian.
She then ended her first news conference, because it was her birthday and there was a party to be held and she wanted cake to go with her fish.
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