Organizers ready for next year’s fishing season
Checks were cut, prizes given away and a Valdez woman was handed the keys to a brand new Seekins Ford Truck during the Spawn ‘til Dawn Derby Awards Party the evening of September 4. The big shindig marks the end of the Valdez Fish Derbies and there was plenty to celebrate about this year.
The 2011 Valdez Silver Salmon and Halibut Derbies ended September 4. There were no surprises in the silver and halibut standings the last few days of the derby, but it was a surprise to have a person from Valdez win the Ford truck from Seekins Ford. Valdez resident Sanoe Deaver received an unexpected phone call from Laurie Prax, event emcee, announcing she was the winner.
“Wow,” the startled Deaver said. “I’m putting my kids to bed.”
By the end of the call, Deaver decided she had better pack up the kids and come up to the Civic Center to see what all the commotion was about. Deaver’s husband is a Coast Guard employee in Valdez. He was out of town, but her two small children were excited about winning the truck.
Both girls hopped in the extended cab of the truck and exclaimed, “There are cup holders!”
Generally, one of the top three silvers are caught Labor Day weekend, but this year the winning fish was caught August 16 by Jack Yakura of Middleburg, Pennsylvania. It weighed in at 18.68 pounds and Yakura won $15,000 cash in addition to the daily prizes he won the day he reeled that beauty in. Lenore Groundwater, the 93-year-old grandmother who won the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby August 13, took second place in the overall derby and netted a cool $5,000 in cash. The third place prize was also caught during the Women’s Derby. Jeanette Wakefield of Anchorage took home $2,000 with the 16.42 pound silver she caught August 13.
Jack McCay of Valdez caught the largest Silver Friday special competition on September 2. McCay took home $500 cash, in addition to the daily prizes for his 12.12 pound catch.
Annette Gutierrez of Fairbanks was the big winner in the Halibut Derby, taking home the $15,000 grand prize check for the halibut that weighed in at 335.7 pounds. Thomas Broach of North Pole took 2 second place in the derby with a 236.9 pounder. Broach was awarded a $5,000 check and James Pohlman of Fairbanks took third place and $2,000 with a 214.8 pound flatfish.
The dates have been set for next year’s derbies. They are as follows:
Halibut Derby May 19 - Sept 2; Silver Derby July 21-Sept 2, Women’s Derby August 10- 11,
Kids Derby July 14, Big Prize Fridays are first and last Friday of Silver Derby.
See ya next year.