The inaugural Salmon Fishing Derby sponsored by Machinists District W24 raised $11,500 for Guide Dogs of America (GDA).
The International Association of Machinists founded GDA in 1948 in Sylmar, California, to train and provide guide dogs to the blind, free of charge. It receives no government funding. “We depend solely on fundraising events like this, voluntary donations and bequests,” said Guide Dogs Director and derby participant Dale Hartford, noting that to breed, raise and train one guide dog costs approximately $38,000. Nineteen guided fishing boats, each with four-person teams, dropped lines in the Columbia River at the crack of dawn April 2. Eight hours later, the wet, cold, windswept fishermen and women weighed their catches on the dock of the Red Lion Hotel on the River-Jantzen Beach.
The winning catch was a 25.9-1/2 pound salmon reeled in by Mike James of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He received a $200 gift certificate to Wholesale Sports. Second and third place prizes ($150 and $100 gift certificates) went to District W24 Rep Mike Rose for a fish weighing 22.11-7/8th pounds; and Kim Sass, with a catch of 15.9-1/8th pounds. She’s the spouse of District W24 Secretary-Treasurer Dan Sass.