Bangor man wins BDN’s annual drift boat trip contest

Back in 2003, the BDN’s marketing gurus were looking for a way to introduce their new outdoor columnist — me — to our readers.

Guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville (right) takes a photo of Jasper Walsh fishing in the East Outlet of the Kennebec River during a drift boat trip on Sunday, June 15, 2012. Walsh, of Newburgh, won the BDN’s annual “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest. When Legere stopped on a sandbar to prepare lunch, Walsh was tempted by rising fish in the river and waded in to cast flies to them. BDN photo by John Holyoke

The tactic that seemed to make the most sense: Give away a great prize, and encourage folks to come to a BDN booth at the annual Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show to sign up for a chance at winning it. Then, we thought, I’d get the chance to chat with anyone who stopped by, and to make connections with other outdoorsy people.

The plan worked perfectly, and our “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest has been held annually ever since. Each year, we give one lucky winner the chance to fly fish with guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, and me. Legere has donated the trip since the contest’s inception, and his status as one of the state’s top guides has certainly helped make this promotion as successful as it has become.

My presence explains why we’ve taken to pitching the contest as “Float with Holyoke.” I tag along, take some photos, tell a few stories, and try to avoid hooking anyone with an errant backcast.

On Monday afternoon, we drew the winner of the 16th annual contest, and I’m happy to report that on Father’s Day, Michael McCarthy of Bangor will be joining us on a daylong float down the East Outlet of the Kennebec River.

Mike Horvers was the first winner of the contest back in 2003. Others followed: Jason McCubbin in 2004, Doug Saunders in 2005, Tom Nichols in 2006, James Rolph in 2007, Dick Fortier in 2008, Tiffany Shepard in 2010, Don Factor in 2011, Jasper Walsh in 2012, John Craig in 2013, Byron Hale in 2014, Harvey Siebert in 2015 and John St. Onge in 2016 and Brandon Prescott in 2017. In 2009, the prize was not given, as the winner could not find a date that fit into their schedule.

This year, our entrants hailed from all over the map, as you can see in the attached document. From Sacramento, California in the west to Eastport in the east, avid anglers signed up for a shot at the trip. We had entrants from Durham, N.H. and Durham, Maine, and from Manchesters in Connecticut and New Hampshire. From Lee to Leeds, East Orland to East Machias to Easton, folks sent in their entry forms.

And thanks to an on-line component, entrants hailed from 16 different states, and 220 different towns — 184 here in Maine and 36 “from away.”

One of our entrants (who signed up at the Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show), is from Robert, Louisiana, which is also home to Cooter Brown’s Seafood, according to the always-helpful Google Maps app. Others signed in with email addresses that were so fishing-oriented, we were tempted to give them preferential treatment.

Alas, we didn’t, and this year’s winner was chosen by a random number generator program that picked his lucky number.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.