During the course of the Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show each year, I good-naturedly “guarantee” dozens of attendees that their entry into our prize box will pay off for them.
Again this year, I’m sorry to report that I was wrong: The winning ticket in our “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest did not enter at the show, as hundreds of others did.
No, she sent in her entry blank through the mail.
That’s right: For the first time since the popular contest began in 2003, our winner is a woman. Tiffany Shepard of Deer Isle is this year’s winner.
Shepard will join guide Dan Legere (and me) on June 20 for a full-day drift down the East Outlet of the Kennebec River.
Legere, the proprietor of Greenville’s Maine Guide Fly Shop, will provide the flies, equipment, expertise, and lunch. I’ll sit in the back of the boat, like I always do, and provide … well … ballast.
This year’s contest drew 497 entries, well short of the 2006 record-high of 781. This year’s entries came from as far away as Wells in the south and Fort Kent in the north.
Some entrants apparently enlisted the help of friends and co-workers (or, perhaps, have four or five subscriptions to this paper that appear on their doorstep each morning).
Others tried inventive tactics to make sure their entry would be viewed favorably.
On that count, they were successful. The only problem: I didn’t get a chance to appreciate the extra effort until after the random drawing, when I sorted the various entries and counted them up.
For instance, I really loved the cartoon that reader Ken Krysig of Smyrna Mills fashioned a drawing of an angler (presumably him), complete with cartoon word bubbles: “Big One! Whoa!”
And I enjoyed the colorful artwork that decorated the envelope sent in by Bangor’s Melissa Connors, and the plea she included on the reverse side: “Pick Me!”
Heck, I even liked the way Cap Introne crumpled up his entry blank before tossing it in the box at the Orono show. He told me it was the way to make sure the entry stood out when we started fishing around in the hopper for a winner.
Sadly for the entrants, none of those ploys worked.
Then there’s the yeoman effort of Jim Snow, a perennial entrant who may hold the record for most entries in the history of the contest. Alas, his yearly barrage of forms has not yet paid off.
Shepard’s trip is the eighth we’ve given away, but one lucky fisherman — our winner from last year — was not able to fish due to scheduling conflicts.
The winners who have joined Legere and me on the East Outlet: Mike Horvers (2003), Jason McCubbin (2004), Doug Saunders (2005), Tom Nichols (2006), James Rolph (2007) and Dick Fortier (2008).
Congratulations to Shepard, and thanks to all who took part in this year’s contest.
Thursday is film night
A quick update on an event that should be a huge success: the newest film from Gray Ghost Productions, “The Good Life,” will be shown at the Sea Dog Brewing Company in Bangor on Thursday evening.
Gray Ghost Productions puts out some stunning fishing movies, and their 2009 film, “North by North East,” will show in the background during a social hour from 6-7 p.m.
“The Good Life” will begin at 7 p.m., and proceeds from the event will be donated to the Penobscot River Restoration Project.
Beverages and food will be available. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 the day of the show. For more ticket information, go to Striking Gold Jewelers in Ellsworth, Van Raymond Outfitters in Brewer, or call Kevin McKay at 944-1691.
MYFGA banquet set
If you’re looking for an enjoyable night out for you and your family, and would be interested in helping out a pretty cool organization, you may want to consider heading to Old Town on Saturday evening.
That’s the night Maine’s Youth Fish & Game Association is holding its annual benefit dinner and auction.
The event will take place at the Old Town Elks Club. An auction preview begins at 4:30 p.m., dinner will be served from 5-7 p.m., and a live auction begins at 7.
Tickets are valid for a free dinner and auction entry, but the event is a fund-raiser for the club, and any generous donation you choose to make will certainly be appreciated.
The MYFGA maintains a clubhouse on the Stud Mill Road outside of Milford and provides outdoor-oriented programming throughout the year.
Included in those offerings: Summer camp opportunities for your kids, which club members would be glad to tell you all about when you attend the banquet.
For more information, call Jim Redding at 827-5107.
And if you decide to attend, I’ll see you there. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to make it to the banquet, and am looking forward to this year’s event.