in my humble opinion

It’s good to be king

Posted 2/24/21

I’ve heard that expression my entire life: in movies, in television commercials, in songs and even on Broadway. But I’ve always wondered where it originated. As is my wont, I navigated my …

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in my humble opinion

It’s good to be king


I’ve heard that expression my entire life: in movies, in television commercials, in songs and even on Broadway. But I’ve always wondered where it originated. As is my wont, I navigated my way to The Google.

Who first said, “It’s good to be King?” I asked the internet gods, and for once, I wasn’t surprised. “Not Tom Petty, not Mel Brooks, not even Yul Brynner” was the response from “It may come from Homer’s Odyssey,” the website states: “It is no bad thing to be a king / to see one’s house enriched and one’s authority enhanced.”

I’m not sure if the Sullivan County Conservation Club’s (SCCC) newly crowned King of the Ice, Hayden Carnell, will find that his authority has been enhanced, but his house has been enriched. With a nice cash prize in his pocket and bragging rights for the next year, Carnell’s whopping 8.2-pound, 26.5-inch walleye (a member of the perch family) took the grand prize in last weekend’s highly anticipated annual ice fishing tourney.

I’ve attended many times, not for fishing per se, which I’ve yet to do, but for the experience, the shared community spirit and for just plain fun. Last year was canceled due to thin ice (something my mother repeatedly told me I was treading on as a kid), and under the weight of COVID-19 restrictions, I was really looking forward to getting outside this year and participating from a safe distance with hundreds of like-minded individuals who flocked to White Lake in beautiful Bethel, NY last Sunday.

I first checked the SCCC’s Facebook page to be sure they had given King of the Ice the green light. “ATVs - NOT RECOMMENDED (they’ll get stuck - snowmobiles should be ok)” the page advised, using caps for emphasis, along with a list of rules and regulations. More caps made the club’s guidelines clear: “MASKS – YES, to be worn any time you can’t remain socially distanced. Regardless of your personal feelings” the page stated. “We need to do this to hold the event, thank you for understanding.”

I don’t know that anyone has ever attempted to cheat, but according to the club’s social media, it would appear that might have occurred at least once in the more than 50 years of the club’s existence. “The weighmaster reminds everyone that fishing before 6 a.m. will disqualify you for the day; he’ll be watching!” I read online. “Also,” the website cautioned, “fish must be brought to the weigh station live to qualify and ensure a fresh catch. Let’s keep things fair for everyone.”

I had a great time taking pics of folks fishing, kids sledding on the hills and families out on the ice, if not dropping a line themselves, partying like it was 2018, before you-know-what befell... and it was refreshing, to say the least.

SCCC Secretary Jay Mendels followed up with these words: “Thank you for coming out and supporting the Sullivan County Conservation Club. Proceeds from the day’s event go a long way to helping the club with ongoing youth and adult education and conservation efforts. As always,” he continued, “a special shout-out to the White Lake Fire Company for allowing us to use their facility and for helping to make our annual tournament such a success.”

To view more photos from King of the Ice, visit, give us a “like” and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

First-place winners

For a complete list of winners in all categories, see the Sullivan County Conservation Club website and Facebook page.

Trout (Tie): Joe Riveria and Eric Thayer
Crappie: Bill Payne
Walleye: Scott Smith
Perch: Bob Festa
Youth division
Pickerel: Jacob Pennell
Perch: Dylan King

About the Sullivan County Conservation Club

Since 1967, the Sullivan County Conservation Club has been actively promoting the conservation of wildlife through habitat improvement programs, including fish stocking, stream and roadside cleanups, reintroducing game animals such as pheasants to areas of the county where they are scarce, cutting browse for deer to survive on during the winter months, and by hosting NYS DEC Hunter and Bowhunter Education courses. The club takes an active part in youth education and safety programs and looks forward to helping to conserve the natural resources of our area for future generations to enjoy.

For more on the club, its programs and membership opportunities, visit

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