The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Fern Greenbank
LOG Editor 

Indiana couple takes top derby prize


Fern Greenbank | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Winner of the Silver Salmon Derby grand prize of $10,000 was John Kennedy of New Palestine, IN on the boat Got Fish! with captain Quinn Bradshaw. Kennedy's wife, Jerry, is being heralded as the hero for making her husband buy the ticket for the Derby entry.

In their fourth Derby, John and Jerry Kennedy walked away with the Silver Salmon Derby grand prize of $10,000 with a 17.67 pounder. This win almost didn't happen though.

"He said he wasn't going to buy a ticket," said Jerry Kennedy. "I said, 'give me your money or we aren't going fishing.'"

In fact, Jerry made sure everybody on the boat bought a ticket.

"My husband is never going to live this down," said Jerry.

The Kennedys had to wait nervously to see if they were bumped down the leader board after turning their fish in Tuesday, with five more derby fishing days left. The winning couply said they almost didn't go out last Tuesday because of the weather but the night before, it was decided to go.

"The highlight of our trip hasn't really been the fishing," admitted Jerry. "We just have such a great experience at the Resurrection Bay Baptist Church."

In fact, on previous trips up from New Palestine, IN., the Kennedy's connected with the church and have friends they keep in contact with. The duo traveled more than 4,000 miles to get in on the derby action and John says the $10,000 prize will help pay for the motorhome gas.

Although the couple have made the trek to Alaska before, this year was particularly hard said Jerry.

In 1999, Jerry and John brought John's 90 year old mother with them and created great memories, said Jerry. Both Jerry and John are grateful they had a winning experience because they aren't sure if they will be able to return for another derby.

Captain of Got Fish!, the winning boat, was Quinn Bradshaw, a college student from Red Oak, TX.

"It was rough out there," said Bradshaw, about the big swells outside the Bay at Cheval where the winner was caught. Bradshaw comes to Seward in the summer to help pay for his college tuition in Texas. ""We were just praying for good numbers for our fishermen and luck was on our side. Okay, some skill, too."

Overall, the derby went off without a hitch, said Erin Lemas, the Chamber events coordinator.

"The weather did have an impact on the numbers," said Lemas, "But it didn't have an impact on the fun factor."

Lemas said the number of ticket sales were down this year because of the weather, but the derby did raise much needed funds for the Chamber and the community scholarships and activities they fund.

"It was just so fun watching families come out and have a blast," said Lemas.

2014 Derby Winners

Place Prize Winner From Weight
1st $10,000 John E. KennedyNew Palestine, IN 17.67
2nd $5,000 Carl BergstromAnchorage, AK 17.41
3rd $2,500 Frank JaramilloLindrith, NM 17.01
4th $1000 Eric Dubey Wasilla, AK 17.00
5th $750 Keith Herring Soldotna, AK 16.92
6th $500 Kari Atwood Seward, AK 16.87
7th $500 Ken Lester Ferndale, WA 16.80
8th Jim Cottrell Anchorage, AK 16.66
9th Kevin Johnson Anchorage, AK 16.26
10th Patti Ansel Soldotna, AK 16.25
11th William Lallish Anchorage, AK 16.03
12th Gene Duillo Springfield, MO 15.93
13th Jerry Soukup Anchorage, AK 15.61
14th Sharon Lamz Wasilla, AK 15.61
15th Von Terry Seward, AK 15.60
16th Arlene Lyler Girdwood, AK 15.45
17th Robert Mathis Seward, AK 15.42
18th $100 Andy Lindahl Anchorage, AK 15.33
19th $100 Janina Kozinski Chugiak, AK 15.08
20th $100 Keith Van Dykin Anchorage, AK 15.02
First Fish
$100 Theda Cagle Seward, AK 11.12
Last Fish
Erik Johnson Anchorage, AK 5.41
Sean Carlin Seward, AK 11.22
Cumulative Seward
$500 Earl Cagle Seward, AK 425.67
$500 Ryan Armstrong Wasilla, AK 538.46
Youth 1st
$250 Darby McMillan Soldotna, AK 14.31
Youth 2nd
$100 James Unrein Seward, AK 13.50
Youth 3rd
$50 Dan Szepanski Anchorage, AK 13.35


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