Kevin Cawley of Kodiak won the contest with a king that weighed 49.5 pounds and was 44 inches long.
Second place went to Palomita Castillo of Kodiak with a 47.4-pound king that was 41.5 inches long.
Jeanie Miller of Washington took third with a 47.1-pound king that was 42 inches long.
The top fishermen won $5,000, $3,500 and $2,500 respectively.
People could enter just the length or both the length and weight if the fish weighed at least 45 pounds. Only salmon entered by weight were eligible for the grand prizes.
Fishermen who caught smaller fish still had an opportunity to win. Local businesses donated prizes ranging from $2,500 to $500 for randomly drawn entrants over 24 inches long.
Those winners were Ron Kutchick, John Bateman, Josh Bateman, Hank Pennington, Shawn Finn, Scott Pillans, Peter Grunwaldt, Shawn Vainio, Tim Longrich, Patrick Jacobsen and Anthony Miller.
Participants had three months from May 15 to Aug. 15 to catch their biggest king and submit it, and over 100 were entered.
KACO has held the derby six times over eight years. There was no derby last year or the year before because of a lack of volunteers to make it happen, according to KACO board of directors member Judi Kidder.
In order to run the derby, a gaming permit from the State of Alaska is required. In previous years, they used permits belonging to other organizations: the Lions Club, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
This year, KACO has their own permit, and they’re back with more volunteers.
“This year, all the paperwork came together, and the gaming permit came through, and all members of KACO got their heads together and made it happen,” Kidder said. “It’s growing and we need more sponsors and volunteers and it’ll be back.”
Although a lot of the entrants are from Kodiak and the surrounding villages, the derby draws outside visitors from Washington, California, Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin and even Germany.
“It’s great for the sport fishing industry, and it’s great for the tourism economy because the people come, they stay for two weeks, they fish, they spend their money around town, and it stays in the economy,” Kidder said. “For the derby coming back and rebuilding itself after a break, I think we did awesome. It would not have been possible without all the legwork and all the phone calls and the generosity of the sponsors.”
The net proceeds from the derby go to the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association. Kidder did not yet know how much money the derby made for KRAA this year.
Contact Julie Herrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.