History of the Jackpot Halibut Derby
The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in the summer of 1986 as the brain-child of a committee dedicated to promoting business in Homer and enhancing tourism for the community. The committee and the Chamber of Commerce took a leap of faith in creating this derby. With $5,000 in seed money and a few local businesses supporting a then unheard of tagged fish program, the derby was off and running.
The derby committee of 1986 showed amazing foresight as they prepared for what has proven to be the most solid Jackpot Derby in the State of Alaska. Many aspects of the derby began with logical thinking and attention to detail, like the captain's prize, ticket sellers, promotional tools and the many mathematical formulas needed to build a fail-safe contest.
The first Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began on Memorial Day and went to Labor Day of 1986. That summer a local fisherman, Tony DeMichelle, won the derby with his 312 pound halibut. The first Jackpot prize was the $5,000 put in from the Chamber of Commerce. Tony was awarded his prize at the Chamber luncheon meeting on September 9, 1986 . . . and the rest is history!
The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is the longest running derby in Alaska and boasts the largest jackpot, too. The derby draws anglers from all over which impacts the local economy tremendously. Still running strong, the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is the best game in town!
History of the Derby Winners
1986 Tony DeMichelle Homer, Alaska 312.0 lbs $13,700
1987 Ruby Caswell Wasilla, Alaska 315.5 lbs $5,000
1988 Vince DeGeorge San Clemente, California 262. Lbs $9,631
1989 William Lawrence Anchorage, Alaska 275 lbs $10,864
1990 Steve Thomas Delta Junction, Alaska 312.5 lbs $12,306
1991 Lonnie Crum Anchorage, Alaska 304.8 $18,434
1992 Patrick Niekamp Ft. Recovery, Ohio 308.5 lbs $20,096
1993 Yolanda McCarter Escondito, California 307.8 lbs $18,644
1994 Mike Wagner Santa Rosa, California 307.1 lbs $18,734
1995 Jim Clymer Homer, Alaska 346.9 lbs $31,730
1996 Jerry Meinders Willmar, Minnesota 376.lbs $25,984
1997 Jeffrey Council Newberg, Oregon 359.3 lbs $28,844
1998 Sean Coy Wasilla, Alaska 320.8 lbs $25,392
1999 John McCray Tuttle, Oklahoma 295. lbs $30,300
2000 David Chaparro Chicago, Illinois 337. lbs $31,820
2001 Tom Barkman Homer, Alaska 322. Lbs $33,514
2002 Clayton McDowell Eagle River, AK 347 lbs. $48,675
2003 Winner Joseph Volk Reedsville, West Virginia 345.4 lbs. $46,302
2004 Don Hanks Sparks, NV 352.6 lbs $51,298
2005 Jim Corliss Corvallis, OR 310.4 lb $48,504
2006 Duane Olson Anchorage, AK 341.8 lb $43,612
2007 Jerry Saunders Chugiak, AK 358.4 lb $37,243
2008 Jeff Pardi San Rafael, CA 348.2 lb $45,475
2009 Thomas Youngblood Homer, AK 354.6 lb $40,440
2010 Jamie Lynn Olvera Fairbanks, AK 277.6 lb $40,610
2011 Chad Aldridge Soldotna, AK 350.8 lb $28,260
2012 James Peeples Chico, CA 323.2 lb $10,000
2013 Gene Jones Bellevue, IA 236.2 lb $21,281
2014 Jackson Hobbs Franklin, ID 335 lb $16,731.50
2015 Linda Scott Bloomington, MN 224.4 lb $15,216.50
2016 Austin Nelson North Pole, AK 252.2 lb $15,419.50
2017 Sam Mills St. Maries, ID 240.0 lb $15,241.00
2018 Ashley Camp Vancouver, BC 221.4 lb $8,677
2019 Jason Schuler Breckenridge, MN 224.2 lb $13,160.50
2019 was the final year of the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. Thank you to all of you who participated over the years.