Six years ago, Dan Legere agreed to take part in a promotion that helped allow the Bangor Daily News (and its new outdoor writer) to make a splash at the annual Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show in Orono.
A veteran attendee of that show, I thought there was a simple way to get people to stop at our booth.
Give something away. Something good. Something outdoor-related. Something that would qualify as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one lucky reader.
And I knew exactly the guy who could give our readers the prize they’d always wanted: Dan Legere, the personable guide and proprietor of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville.
Legere quickly agreed to the plan, and offered a free guided drift boat trip on his home water, the East Outlet of the Kennebec River.
Originally planned as a one-time offer, Legere decided (and I eagerly agreed) to continue offering the trip as a prize in subsequent years. Legere said Father’s Day — peak season for fly fishing on the East Outlet — would be a good day to take the trip.
A tradition had begun.
While many folks win prizes in sportsman’s show raffles, truly free prizes are a bit less common.
And this one has always been free. Fill in the application you find in the Bangor Daily News, or stop by the show and toss an entry blank into the box, and you’re as likely to win as anyone else.
Of course, there are a few eager readers who routinely enlist the help of relatives and friends, and send in a couple dozen entry forms each year. The all-time record for futile persistence: 54 entry blanks by a Newport BDN reader, set back in 2008.
As of Wednesday, none of those frequent-try-ers have succeeded in their quest for fishing nirvana.
And this morning, I’m happy to announce that this year’s winner of our “Win A Drift Boat Trip” contest is Clyde West of Bangor. West will join Legere and I on June 21 for the seventh annual drift over some of the most beautiful water the state has to offer.
Legere will take care of the guiding, the rowing, the instruction the netting and the cooking. West will be responsible for catching the fish. And me? I’ll try to stay out of the way and cause as little trouble as possible.
West joins our past winners, Mike Horvers (2003), Jason McCubbin (2004), Doug Saunders (2005), Tom Nichols (2006), James Rolph (2007) and Dick Fortier (2008).
Each of those winners left the river beaming, and thanking Legere for a trip that surpassed even their loftiest expectations.
Some have been bass anglers at heart, others hadn’t fly fished much at all. And each had plenty of success, thanks in large part to the efforts of Legere, who is among the top teachers I’ve ever met.
This year’s contest drew 585 entries. That total surpassed last year’s count (574) but fell short of 2006’s record of 781 entries.
Moose deadline extended
If you’re one of those procrastinators who woke up this morning and realized that your chance at winning a Maine moose permit this year had evaporated, I’ve got good news for you.
You’re still in luck.
According to the original plan, the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife had set an April 1 deadline for those lottery applicants who wanted to fill out an old-fashioned paper form to gain entry in the yearly drawing.
On Tuesday afternoon the DIF&W announced a change of heart, and extended the paper application deadline a month. Applicants must have their application postmarked by May 1 or must deliver the application to the DIF&W office in Augusta by 5 p.m. on May 1.
The deadline for those who enter the lottery via the Internet remains 11:59 p.m. on May 15.
The DIF&W did not print and mail paper applications this year in an effort to cut costs. In past years, prospective hunters who entered the lottery the previous year automatically received a paper application in the mail.
“We understand that many interested people are not aware of the transition from the paper applications to the on-line system,” Bill Swan, DIF&W’s director of licensing said in a news release. “We don’t want anyone to miss out, so we are extending the deadline by a month to make sure everyone has time to file their applica-tion.”
Those interested in filing a paper application may do so in a variety of ways.
ä Print out an application from the DIF&W Web site and mail it in with payment.
ä Travel to Augusta and fill out the application at the DIF&W office.
ä Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Moose Permit Application Request, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, 41 SHS, 284 State Street, Augusta, 04333-0041.