For nine years, eager anglers have flocked to the Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show, worn a path to the Bangor Daily News and kept their local mail carriers busy for a single purpose: All wanted to prevail in our “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest.
For nine years we’ve held the contest, and for nine years the response of readers has been overwhelming. I’d like to think that the prospective anglers are eager to fish with a BDN outdoor columnist, but fully realize that the real draw is Dan Legere, the top-notch guide who rides herd over our yearly adventure.
As our past winners have learned, Legere, the proprietor of Greenville’s Maine Guide Fly Shop, knows the fish of the East Outlet of the Kennebec River on a first-name basis. He knows where they live. He knows what they eat. And some days, when the fishing is especially good, you’d swear he’s got them trained.
This year readers filled out 702 entry blanks in our contest. (In answer to your next question: Yes. I counted them all). Those entries came from as far away as Wilmington, Mass., and from all across Maine. We received entries from members of all three Bangor-area salmon clubs, from at least three conservation groups and tellingly, from other guides who tossed their names in the hat for a chance to spend a day on the water with Legere.
Some of our contest veterans returned with a vengeance this year … and didn’t win. Jim Snow sent in several forms. None were picked. Ditto Royce Day. And Sue Shaw. And a particularly tenacious Newport educator who always fills our ballot box to the brim (and has still never won).
Some entrants wrote witty notes that they (mistakenly) thought would help out in the random drawing. One tried to flatter me and put hearts and a nickname on the envelope. No dice.
One prospective drift-boater surely would have won, had we been judging entries on originality and humor. Unfortunately for him, we weren’t — a random grab into a big cardboard box is all it takes to earn this fishing trip of a lifetime — and he, too, was a nonwinner.
Here’s what that entrant, who lives in Thomaston, had to say: “I moved to Maine 40 years ago from Tennessee and I have done everything this state offers except taking a fishing trip down a river,” he wrote. “I’ve skied, scuba-dived, explored, flew a kite, mooned a full moon and drank some local aged apple cider. So I’m ready to catch a fish.”
It’s entries like that, that make us sad that this contest is decided on by random drawing.
But it is. And we’re excited to tell you that this year’s winner is Don Factor of Bangor, who admitted to sending in four entries during this year’s contest period. The 702 entrants in this ninth annual Win a Drift Boat Trip contest was not a record — 781 entered in 2006 — but it was a substantial increase over each of the past three years (497 in 2010, 585 in 2009 and 574 in 2008).
Factor joins our past winners, Mike Horvers (2003), Jason McCubbin (2004), Doug Saunders (2005), Tom Nichols (2006), James Rolph (2007), Dick Fortier (2008) and Tifany Shepard (2010) as recipients of the daylong fishing excursion. Due to scheduling conflicts our 2009 trip went unclaimed.
Factor will join Legere and me on the East Outlet of the Kennebec on June 19 for a full-day float down one of the state’s top fly-fishing waters. Legere will teach and entertain and cook, as always. I will sit in the back of the boat, try to stay out of the way and provide ballast, as always.
And we’ll have a great time. I’m sure of that.
Outdoor enthusiasts from around the state will flock to the Augusta Civic Center this weekend for the 31st annual State of Maine Sportsman’s Show.
According to an event press release, the show will feature more than 100 seminars, 130 booths and all kinds of other exhibits.
Among the event’s selling points: L.L. Bean of Freeport will give away five Streamlight Ultra fly rod combos and five spinning rod outfits as door prizes.
The show runs from 1-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for kids ages 5 through 12 and free for children under 4.