Einar Nielsen/Becky Barr Memorial: A lot of new features to old fishing classic

The late Einar Nielsen was the first inspiration for the fishing classic that bears his name.  -
The late Einar Nielsen was the first inspiration for the fishing classic that bears his name.
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The oldest fishing classic in the San Juans is getting some updated features — including social media and a website.

Fishermen can enter the Einar Nielsen/Becky Barr Memorial Fishing Classic, Sept. 23-26 at Roche Harbor, online at And they can keep up with derby updates on the classic's Facebook page.

There's a new board — the namesakes' descendants: Barry Barr and Jodi Somm; and Sue Nielsen, Peter and Brenda Schmidt, and Jennifer Schmidt.

For the first time, the classic will award cash prizes: $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, and $1,000 for third. All fishermen who weigh in a fish during the classic will be eligible for a $500 drawing. There will be prizes for fishermen 12 years and younger.

Roche Harbor is offering half-off moorage fees and will waive launch fees for ticket-holding derby participants. (Entry fee is $75 adult, $20 children.)

The salmon barbecue at the event's finale is being replaced by a more family-oriented evening every night of the classic. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be served nightly on the party barge. Board member Brenda Schmidt hopes the nightly gatherings will be reminiscent of the classic's early days, when fishermen would share fish stories around dinner comprised of donated salmon, homegrown corn, and homemade salads.

All proceeds from the classic supports scholarships for graduating high school seniors. In June, the classic awarded about $15,000 in scholarships.

This year's classic is the 26th; local insurance agent/winery owner Tim Judkins retired last year as board chairman after a 25-year run.

"The family has decided to perpetuate it, which I'm thrilled about," he said. "And they're lowering ticket prices for kids, to get kids and their families involved. Ticket sales are the backbone to it."

Besides online ticket sales, tickets are also available at Ace Hardware, Clipper Ship Barber Shop, King's Marine, Nash Brothers Sporting Goods, and Roche Harbor Store.

The classic is named in memory of Nielsen, a vice president of Roche Harbor Resort and San Juan County Commission member; and Barr, who with her husband helped found the classic.

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