A Message of Thanks from the Derby Chairman

Joe El-Deiry
Here we are again, the start of number 76. That time of year we all look forward to most. Seeing old friends, spending time with family, all while dreaming of catching that Derby winner. Although only 6 lucky anglers will end up on stage hoping to draw that winning key, we are all winners. Getting to spend some or all of the 5 weeks enjoying the beauty and camaraderie that goes hand in hand with fishing the Derby.

This year the Derby committee is excited to announce that Eastern Boats will again be the grand prize sponsor as they were from 2008 to 2016. Welcome back Eastern Boats!! Please check out their ads in this year’s booklet and click their link on the Derby website. We are also proud to announce that many of our long-standing sponsors are back along with several new ones. Thank you to all of them for their generosity.

The weigh station set-up will remain the same as last year with the weigh-in table at the entrance and only allowing one person/family in at a time. The committee felt this would be the best way to assure everyone’s safety and help us make it to the finish line. One difference is, after you pre-register online, you will be able to pick up a badge and registration packet when the weigh station is open. Please check out the Derby’s on-line store for this year’s merchandise.

Along with the help of Participant registration fees, The Ann E. Clark Foundation, The Tony & Renee Marlon Foundation, The Windmill Foundation and The Howes Family – in memory of Teddy Howes, the Derby was able to award a record $76,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. This was a $26,000 increase from the most the Derby has ever awarded. Thank you to everyone for helping us achieve this milestone. Class Night was an event we will not soon forget! Please read about the 9 scholarship recipients on page 21.

One of my favorite memories from last Derby was watching Lathrop Keene weigh in his personal best 13.42lbs bluefish. He won a first place daily in the Junior division and moved his team up into the top 5. It was a very windy day with not many boats leaving the dock. To see the excitement on his face when he saw the weight and hearing about the experience that he had with his dad John Keene, who happens to be my boss and one of my closest friends. Learning about their adventure and the way it all came together is what Derby dreams are made of. It was the perfect conclusion to the 75th Derby. I thought about all the planning that went into preparing to hold the Derby in the midst of a pandemic and how difficult the last 8 months had been on everyone. The gratification that we had made it to the end without having to change any of the protocols we put into place. Our planning worked! Thank you to all the participants, Edgartown officials, the committee and most importantly the fillet master and the volunteers who made it all work. The fishing was epic and the fish stories were plentiful. Let’s hope the 76th is even better! Make sure to read the rules, know the boundaries, practice good sportsmanship and while fishing the beaches only leave your footprints. Best of luck to all the anglers. Enjoy the 76th Derby!

Tight lines,

Joe El-Deiry

Chairman, Derby Committee