Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 8:21 PM on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New derby partnerships formed


Photo by Andrew Jensen, Morris News Service - Alaska

From left to right, Eric Stanley of Stanley Ford, Monte Davis, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center and Keith Sopp, director of media sales and marketing for GCI, pose for a picture after announcing big changes to the Homer Halibut Jackpot Derby.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center on Feb. 9 announced a partnership with GCI and Stanley Ford in Kenai for the 2012 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby.

GCI will offer derby entrants the opportunity to catch "The GCI $50,000 Tagged Fish," the largest tagged fish cash prize ever offered in Alaska. Stanley Ford in Kenai will offer "The Stanley Ford of Kenai Ford F-150 Tagged Fish."

"We're excited about these two new partnerships," said Monte Davis, the Homer chamber's executive director. "The addition of these prize opportunities will make our derby more popular than ever and offer a chance for people of all fishing skills the chance to truly win big."

Previously a "big fish" derby, the 26-year- old Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby has changed this year's format in an effort to be proactively conservation minded. The derby historically offered monthly prizes for the four largest fish and a grand prize at the end of the season for the overall largest fish.

"With halibut stocks declining, it has been obvious for a few years that we needed to make changes," said Davis. "We can no longer offer all those prizes in good conscience, so this year we are going from 21 "big fish" prizes down to one."

Beginning this year, the derby will offer monthly prizes for released fish only. Any derby ticket holder who releases a fish weighing more than 50 pounds, which is witnessed by a captain or other derby participant, will have their names entered into a drawing for a $1,000 monthly prize.

Additionally, prizes valued at $250 will be drawn monthly for members of the military (active or veterans) and senior citizens (55 and over). Also, for the first time this year, all tagged fish from previous years are worth $100 in "Homer Bucks" to derby ticket holders.

Finally, at the end of the season, one cash prize of $5,000 will be drawn from all released fish entrants throughout the year, a kids' prize (yet to be determined) will be drawn from all kids tickets purchased throughout the year, a $5,000 prize will be drawn from all derby entrants throughout the year and a grand prize of $10,000 will be awarded for the largest fish in 2012.

There are literally thousands of ways entrants can win, according to a press release announcing the changes.

The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is the largest and longest running jackpot derby in Alaska. The 2012 derby runs May 15-Sept. 15.