155 anglers at Liars Fishing Derby in honour of Garry Banford


 What began last summer as a good-natured Liars Derby among a group of long time fishing buddies, this year became a tribute to the memory of one of those old friends.

The 2nd annual Liars Fishing Derby was held at the Galop Canal Marina in Iroquois on Saturday, May 5, in honour of the late Garry Banford, a keen amateur fisherman. Organized by Bruce Mullin and other friends of Garry’s, the Derby drew 155 entrants with prizes of $500 going for the largest pike and the largest pickerel catches of the day. The event was capped in late afternoon by a barbecue which featured some very fresh fish on the menu.

“This event was a kind of dream for us,” Bruce Mullin said. “When we first came up with the idea of holding this derby, we really didn’t know if people would come out to support it. But the response was just unreal. We had 155 people purchase tickets, people of all ages from 10 to 70. Garry was a very close friend and we wanted to do something special for him.”

Mullin joked that the name the Liars Derby came about last year. 

“A group of us buddies just casually started calling the event the 1st Liars Derby, and the name stuck.”

Mullin had a lot of praise for the friends who helped him plan and organize and run the Derby. 

“Ron Monroe, Gary Locke, Doug Byers, Ron Baker, Gary Jarvis, Lynn Dillabough and Danny McLaughlin all got involved. Then Aaron and Ann (Banford) came in to help as well with ticket sales.”

The Derby raised $4,000 for the organizers.

The proceeds will allow two scholarships, in Garry Banford’s name, each for $500, to be given to Seaway District High School in time for the fall graduation. Organizers were also thrilled to be able to present the Iroquois Marina with a donation of $1,700.

The entire Banford family took part in the Derby.

“I thought this was a fantastic idea when Bruce came to me with it,” said Ann Banford. “Garry was one of the fishing buddies and he would have loved this event. Bruce and his group are really to be commended. They put so much work and effort into getting the Derby together.”

Many people, who were not actually planning to fish, also approached the organizers with donations. 

Prizes of $500 were awarded to Ernie Beckstead for the largest pike, weighing in at 10.12 lbs and to Kevin Sabourin with the largest pickerel at 8.3 pounds. Ernie donated $100 of his winnings back to the Derby.

Gary Locke took second prize in the pike category while Jeff Adams took third. Ron Gillard received second prize for his pickerel and Rob Barkely went home with third.  Bert Fawcett came closest to the Hidden Weight while Kevin Keyes was ‘honoured’ with the Skunked Trophy.

The weather co-operated for the day.

“It was a bit cold and windy when we started out at 7 a.m.,” Mullin said, “but sunny and getting warmer by the time the deadline arrived. I guess it was a challenge for the guys out there, but we brought in 160 pounds of fish. And that doesn’t count the ones that were released. The fish were all caught in the immediate area. Some bass and some bowfin were also hooked.”

Are any good fishing stories coming out of the 1012 Liars  Fishing Derby?

Well, it seems the winning pike is still gaining weight as the Leader goes to press…

Organizers are already looking ahead to next year’s Derby. 

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