On Saturday morning, March 1, derby officials and contestants were challenged with 13-below-zero icy weather to set up for the day. The food generator didn’t want to start, light ballast were too cold to work at headquarters, but just as New Englanders do, the volunteers and participants persevered. The anglers reported ice depths of 18 inches to 3 feet thick. Some of the ice augers almost ran out of shaft to bore through the ice. Thankfully the weekend warmed up to over 20 degrees, which felt like a heat wave when the sun came out on Sunday.
Overall, there were 320 contestants who baited their hooks.
George Laws, of Tollard, CT, brought in a 4.83 lb. lake trout, which won him $300 for biggest fish of the day on Saturday. The prize was sponsored by Moore Brothers Body and Paint Shop. Had he maintained that position he would have taken first with that category, however, 13-year-old Desi Boos, of Wilmington, trumped her efforts on Sunday by landing a 5.90 lb. lake trout with a shiner. She took first place. and won $300 for biggest fish on Sunday, sponsored by Deerfield Valley Dental Care, plus she had a chance for the $30,000 grand prize.
Boos and all the first-place winners drew and opened prize bags until they had five that matched, revealing a prize of either $30,000, $3,000, $300 or $250. Those prizes were sponsored by Auto Mall (two species), Pikes Gun Shop and Auto Body, TransCanada, and the Deerfield Valley Sportsmen’s Club. Boos won $250 for first place in the lake trout. Of the five first-place winners, only Keegan Reed, of Whitingham, opened a bag for a $300 prize. He landed a 0.87 lb. perch.
Bruce Bacon, of Palmer, MA, weighed in a 3.30 lb pickerel and won $100 for the Crazy Angler Contest, sponsored by Barry Bouker Taxidermy.
Timmy McKay won the Kayla Lackey Trophy and $25 for landing three perch with a combined weight of 1.38 lbs. This category is for youth ages 1-8, and was sponsored by the Lackey family in memory of Kayla.
The “Mr. Bill” fastest hand-auger contest was for youth 14 years old and younger: first place, Brian Betit, $50; second place, Willie Queenie, $30; and third place, David Galaskie, $20. Hand-auger awards were sponsored by the Cox family in memory of Bill Cox.
The 50/50 raffle scholarship benefits a graduating senior from Twin Valley High School who is going on to college. The pot grew to $977.50 and was won by Elizabeth Barber, who received $488.50.
Brook trout winners were: first, Jacob Rice, 2 lb., $250; second, Jacob Rice, 1.91 lb. $150; and third, Chad Cheverie, 1.78 lb. $100.
Brown trout winners were: first, Kurt Spencer 2.01 lb. $250; second, Lloyd Austin, 1.83 lb., $150; and third, Nicholas Bashaw, 1.41 lb., $100.
Lake trout winners were: first, Desi Boos, 5.9 lb., $250; second, George Laws, 4.83 lb, $150
Rainbow trout winners were: first, Joe Boisvert, and 0.96 lb, $250; second, Chad Cheverie, .90 lb., $150; and third, Frank Sprague, 0.80 lb., $100.
Perch winners were : first, Keegan Reed, 0.87 lb., $300; second, Dustin Boos, 0.72 lb., $150; and third, Pete Boisvert, 0.69 lb., $100.
Amber Albee and John Kennedy were the weigh-in officials, and kept busy both days, logging in 75 board fish for the competitions, and many more that were no longer in the running.
Gary Dix built the food shanty out of an actual ice fishing shanty. All were very grateful for the hot chocolate, coffee, breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, chili, and hot dogs. Game warden Travis Buttle helped contestants both days. Ashley Dix, Travis Snow, Seth Albee, Connor Hunt, and Jennifer Waldron were the ice officials who transported fish and sold 50/50 tickets.
The awards ceremony emcees were Chris Bates and Stephanie Calabro, of “Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped,” a live show that airs on Thursdays on WBTN-AM radio.
The Chinese auction was run by DVSC vice president Jody Boos and DVSC president Tim Putnam. DVSC treasurer Brad Lackey, derby chairperson Debra Cox, Andy and Jacob Rice, Joseph Saladino, Tim Putnam, Amber and Seth Albee, and Jody Boos were the set-up and breakdown crew. The group had the headquarters site cleaned up and hauled out by 4:28 pm Sunday.
Organizers thank everyone who participated, donated or purchased advertising in the program.