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Mount Vernon man wins derby
Sequim Gazette staff
Larry Quesnell of Mount Vernon weathered the storm and a storm of competitors to take the $10,000 grand prize at the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby this week.
Quesnell hooked a 15.4-pound salmon, edging Jay Campbell of Port Townsend who earned the $2,000 second prize with a 15.25 pound fish.
Third place went to Geoffrey Cobb of Port Angeles, whose 14.25-pound salmon earned the $1,000 cash prize from 7 Cedars Casino.
In all, 171 winter blackmouth chinook salmon heavier than 6 pounds were submitted, below last year’s record of 249 but in line with earlier derbies, event officials said. Wind was the biggest factor, keeping some from going out and driving others into port, officials said.
“We had decent fishing, considering … but everybody who was out there knows why this derby gets called the ‘Ironman Derby,’” said Dan Tatum, president of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association.
Anglers were competing for a prize list worth $22,833. (Large cash prizes were funded through ticket sales, but all other prizes were donated by area residents and businesses.)
Net proceeds from each derby support local emergency services and other community needs.
Tatum said that plans for the 2014 derby proceeds have not yet been decided but more details will be provided at an appreciation dinner, set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, at the Gardiner Community Center, coinciding with the association’s annual meetings.
The Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, runs this ongoing annual event.
“This was the toughest we’ve had in years, with gusts of 40-50 miles per hour,” Tatum said. “That’s rough in a small boat. Weather reports before the derby were discouraging, which kept a lot of people away. We sold 600 tickets this year, less than we hoped due to the weather.”
Still, Tatum noted, the derby drew anglers from as far as Florida.
All derby ticket holders are entered in the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s end-of-year (September) grand prize boat drawing.