This year marked the 34th Annual Bill Williams Catfish Races, which is a fun, hands-on event held as part of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry. The race received its name’s sake the former editor and publisher of The Post-Intelligencer Newspaper, who is recognized for introducing this unique event to Henry County more than three decades ago. The races were sponsored by the REAL Hope Youth Center for the second time.
On Saturday, April 29, L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) staff members came out to Downtown Paris to support Pat the River Cat as he competed in the event. Among those staff members, Administrative Intern, Kathryn (Katie) Bullion, acted as head fish handler. While Pat didn’t win the competition, he placed second in his heat race. More importantly, he also helped to spread the word about Get Kids into Surveying (GKIS) and the amazing career of land surveying!
Pat the River Cat's Story
Hello, fellow fish mates! My name is Pat the River Cat, and I am a pro-fish-ional surveyor for L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS). I wasn’t always this way, though! Let me tell you a bit about how I ended up here.
I once was a lonely, run-of-the-mill catfish. I wandered the streams and lakes, searching for something new and exciting but never found it. Everywhere I looked was just water and mud. However, one fateful day a huge flood swept through Henry County. I was carried out of the water and dumped on the dry shore! At first, I thought I was in danger. However, I soon realized the beauty and wonders around me. There was so much space! So much to see! With this, I was a free catfish.
And so, I roamed. I decided to travel around the world to see this new landscape that I had discovered. The first place I traveled to was the deserts of Egypt, a country that is both on the African and Asian continents. The catfish species dates all the way back to ancient Egypt, but did you know that surveying does, too? I was able to learn all about the fish-tory of surveying and how it helps us retrace the steps of what land surveyors before us did.
Next, I traveled northeast to the Asian continent. I decided to visit China, a country known for its rich culture and fishing. Did you know that Zheng He of the Yunnan Province in China was the first person recorded to have used a compass to navigate? Surveyors use compasses, too!
Then, I went south to the continent of Australia to see some of the interesting wildlife. Did you know that surveying was used to provide land to settlers in the days of British colonization of Australia and New Zealand?
Next, I journeyed northwest to the European continent! I swam down the channels to Rome, a city in Italy, to see the majestic Colosseum, a giant structure left over from the Roman Empire. Did you know that the Romans loved surveying, too? I took a short trip northwest to the British Isles but soon left when I found out their favorite meal is fish and chips! Oh no!
After that fright, I traveled back to my hometown in North America, Paris, TN, where my best buddies, Larry and Lucile Smith, and I decided to open LIS, a surveying and civil engineering company. Shortly afterwards, we moved our company here to beautiful Downtown Paris!
Today, I work with the GKIS initiative to teach young people about the wonders of this vast career. I always knew that surveying was something that would allow me to carry out my passion for studying the world. Now, I get to share my passion with others!
With all the things I’ve learned and experienced in my travels, I know I can conquer anything that comes my way, including this race!