Eager readers sign up for annual drift boat trip contest|

Over the course of three days last weekend, my colleague Aislinn Sarnacki and I greeted hundreds of BDN readers at our booth at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show.

Guide Dan Legere (left) of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville chats with angler John St. Onge of Cumberland while taking a lunch break on the East Outlet of the Kennebec River in 2016. (BDN photo by John Holyoke)

One observation: When your booth is directly across from the most popular smoked meat vendor at the show, you quickly learn how to chat with folks with some pretty severe beef jerky breath.

Don’t take offense. No problem. We love beef jerky, too! (Just not as much as we may have before the show started).

But this morning, there’s a bit of post-show house cleaning that needs to be taken care of. One comment we heard quite often over those three days: “I haven’t seen the entry form for your contest in the paper. What gives?”

The contest, as you many realize, is our annual “Win a Drift Boat Trip” promotion. And yes, we were a bit late getting the entry form into the paper this year. I apologize for that, but as many of you have noticed, judging from the pile of entries that show up with the morning mail each day, the form has been running in the print BDN all this week.

We’ll continue to print that coupon a few times a week and will accept entrants up until midnight on April 30. Then, on May 1, we’ll draw the winner of the trip. That lucky winner will accompany Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop and I on a full day of fly fishing on the East Outlet of the Kennebec River. We’ll take that trip on June 18.

More good news: We’ll also accept your entries at the  Bangor Garden Show, which runs March 24-26. Look for the BDN table.

And though the vast majority of BDN readers (and contest entrants) have proven that they understand the basics of contest entry, a few have receive failing grades. With that in mind, I offer this remedial guide: On the entry form, you must include your name, and a way to get in touch with you in a timely basis (which doesn’t involve me hopping in my car and driving 100 miles into the hinterlands).

Really. It’s not negotiable.

You can’t just write “Steve,” and “124 Possum Hollow Road” and expect me to notify you when you win. (Yes, something similar happened, several times, on the entry blanks we collected in Orono). I don’t need your phone number and your email address. But I do need one or the other. Perhaps I’m just being stubborn, but I refuse to drive all the way to Possum Hollow on May 2 to give you the good news. And I’m pretty sure my boss won’t approve of my mileage check for such a unnecessary junket.

If you missed the Orono show, don’t fret. There are plenty of other outdoor events coming up in the weeks ahead. We won’t be staffing any booths there, but you might enjoy them anyway — even without us. Here are a few you might want to attend:

  • Even if you’re not really, truly in the market for a boat right now, it’s always fun to plan ahead … or just to dream. The 31st Bangor Boat Show will take over the Cross Insurance Center this weekend, with three days of action on tap. Show hours: Friday 2 p.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and teens, while children 12 and younger get to dream for free. If you’re looking for more information, go to bangorboatshow.com.
  • Several years back, the BDN outdoors team staffed a booth at the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club’s Sportsman’s Show, and it was one of the most enjoyable shows we’ve ever done. This year’s Presque Isle show will be held March 25-26 at the Gentile Building at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. What makes the show so great? It’s a bit smaller and cozier, and the attendees seem eager to chat with the vendors and find out what they’re up to. At some larger shows, visitors can feel like they’re getting herded down the aisles. In Presque Isle, that’s not the case, and you’re just as apt to end up standing in the same spot, chatting with old friends, as the foot traffic moves around you. Another classic sporting expo touch: This show still has a trout pond, and kids are invited to catch a fish and take it home with them. This attraction is always a hit, and it’s fun just to stand aside and watch the reactions of the kids as they haul in their “lunker” trout. Admission is $5, while kids 10 and under get in for free.
  • Outdoors enthusiasts often attend just one annual expo, depending on where they live, and where the show is located. But the centrally located State of Maine Sportsman Show, which will be staged in Augusta March 31-April 2, draws visitors from far and wide. The event will be held at the Augusta Civic Center, and this year marks its 37th in operation. Hours: March 31, 1-7 p.m., April 1, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and April 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

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.