Derby delivered exciting finish

Although I’ve covered four fishing derbies in person in my current 13-month stay here, I’m the last guy who will claim to know anything about the sport.
Oh sure, it’s inevitable that I’ve picked up a few pointers, have gotten more comfortable with the jargon, and the general understanding of the overall strategy involved. But let’s face it, I’m no Bob Izumi or even Gord Pyzer.
Yet one thing I do recognize is a great finish to an event—any sporting event. And last weekend’s inaugural Emo Walleye Classic had that in spades.
All the fears derby organizers may have had after Saturday’s penalty that cost Bryan Hughes and Trevor Croswell the championship, and sparked some confusion during the final weigh-in, can be put to rest.
It might have, as one of the organizer told me, “sent the whole thing to a crashing halt after going along so well.” But I guarantee the weekend’s finish is one people on hand for it won’t soon forget. And isn’t that what the goal of this tournament was in the beginning?
“You’re talking about 0.06 pounds being the difference [before Hughes and Croswell were penalized]. That’s definitely the closest finish I’ve been involved in,” said Ed Carlson, director of angler services, who also has competed in several of the district’s other derbies.
Picture it: the last two boats clawing it out, a last-minute meeting on a rule, people murmuring inside the Emo/La Vallee Community Centre on what’s going to happen. You can’t buy PR like that.
The village of Emo and the tournament committee members worked too darn hard to let something like this ruin the event and you can bet they’re already aiming to fix any loose ends for next year.
“There’s been some concerns [regarding rules],” said EWC chair Dale Hartlin. “We’re definitely going to be looking at our rules for next year to make sure things go smoother.”
Personally, I thought the EWC went off very well. It had the same competitive flavour as the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Champion-ship coupled with the local intimacy of Lake Despair Lodge’s “Castin for Cash” bass derby.
So really, I don’t think there are any victims here. Hughes and Croswell were kicking themselves for losing the title but were very positive about their fourth-place finish—not bad for their first tournament together.
Having Harvey Cochrane and Oliver Gibbons (the latter one-half of the reigning Kenora Bass International champions), as well as 2000 and 2001 FFCBC co-winners Denis Barnard and Steve Ballan, compete doesn’t hurt the reputation of the tournament in drawing the district’s top anglers.
It certainly hasn’t diminished angler enthusiasm for next year. After talking to anglers, Carlson predicted they won’t have trouble getting the full 50-boat field.
• • •
What better way to take a break from my recent on-the-job fishing coverage than to watch kids 10 times smarter than me spell out words I never knew existed.
If anyone bothered to catch it, the 75th-annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee was broadcast on TSN over the weekend. A program like this ranks pretty high on both the “shows that tell me I’m watching way too much television” and “shows I can’t turn away from” lists.
The winner, Pratyush Buddiga from Colorado, edged out Mississippi’s (did I get that right?) Steve Nally in the final by spelling “paraclette” correctly.
Poor Steve melted down while trying to spell “morigeration.” He asked for word origins, definitions, and other pronunciations before sputtering out the wrong answer.
Now I’ve got nothing against spelling bees. It’s a fine way to win a set of encyclopedias (did I get that right?) But does it really belong on the sports channel? No. N-O. No.
By the way, I looked up the official Scripps Howard Web site this week to see a list of former champions and their title-clinching words.
Regrettably, the only word I could spell was “kamikaze.” And that’s thanks in large part to my heavy diet of Japanese monster movies as a child.
• • •
Local rider Donovan Taylor came away with a trio of top-three finishes at a horse show competition in Valley City, N.D. last weekend. The seven-year-old and his American Paint, “Chicago,” finished first in the English division, second in the Western division, and third in the trail division.
If you are planning any sporting events or have any sports related information feel free to call me at 274-5373, ext. 237.

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