Omer holding off on new sucker derby


OMER — Omer City Clerk Sue Oliver reported during the city’s council meeting Feb. 26 that she had sought volunteers to hold a sucker derby this year, but only had two people respond positively.

Between that and the short timetable before sucker season opens, she said the derby would be held off until next year at least.

“It’s just not enough time to put something together,” she said.

Oliver said even though the remaining sucker derby funds from last year had been donated to a few local organizations, there was nothing stopping a group from starting fresh. She added there were still buttons left over from previous years that, provided they did not have dates listed, could be reused at a future derby to save some money.

The previous sucker derby group disbanded in March 2012 after being unable to find enough volunteers to help organize the event. The group’s remaining $1,100 was split between the Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library, The Arenac County Historical Society, and Omer’s offering in last year’s Heritage Route Summer Concert Series.

The group had been in existence since 2008, when it revived the sucker derby after a 20-year absence. Vendor support dwindled during its run, and the event ultimately focused on giving prizes out to kids.

Mayor Alice Sproule added it could take some time to see the turnout with the new March 20 start date for sucker season.

The city lobbied State Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, to change the start of sucker season from April 1, as by the time anglers could dip their nets in the water the annual sucker run had usually passed. Johnson introduced a bill last fall with the support of the DNR, and it unanimously passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder Dec. 27.


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