Pirates win it for the Queen
Pirates made the difference as California beat Nevada on Saturday in the fourth annual Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race, just one of many Labor Day events held over the weekend.
For the first time, the Tahoe Queen, which is powered by paddle wheel, bested the M.S. Dixie II, a paddle and engine-powered vessel.
The band of “pirates” were on the Meteor, which was dubbed “The Queen’s Revenge” and is owned by Hornblower Cruises, a company that owns the Tahoe Queen. The Queen’s Revenge cut in front of the Dixie causing it to slow and make a wide turn around a buoy. In the end, the Queen beat the Dixie by a few seconds.
“We’re not quite sure what happened out there,” said M.S. Dixie Capt. Jim Biller. “We started the race looking for smooth sailing and then out of nowhere came these hijackers who tried to steal our buoy. We have unusual memories of this race. You never what might happen next year.”
Across town on Saturday and Sunday was the third-annual Big Ol’ Fishin Derby at Camp Richardson Resort. This year, good weather enticed 150 people to comb the waters of Lake Tahoe for the big one.
A 9-pound Mackinaw and a 1-pound Kokanee salmon won top prizes. Mike Sandlin, a South Lake Tahoe resident, caught the Mackinaw and earned a $1,000 check for it. He caught the fish from a boat just yards from the Camp Richardson Marina.
Sandlin, 34, moved from Orange County four years ago so he could fish the lake regularly. He said he caught the winner in 100 feet of water with a lure.
“I had about 600 feet of line out. It took me about 10 minutes (to reel it in),” Sandlin, who inspects homes throughout the country for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said. “When I’m not working, I fish.”
Two years ago an 18-pound Mackinaw was the biggest fished nabbed in the derby. Last year, the largest hooked was 9 pounds.
Sherone Morozoni, of Morgan Hills, Calif, caught the largest Kokanee, winning a dinner for two at the Fresh Ketch. He did not attend Sunday’s award ceremony.
Derby prizes were handed out by Terrie Q. Sayre, events coordinator for Labor Day Lake Tahoe 2001. She said last year about 40 signed up for the derby, which has no registration fee.
“The weather kind of foiled us last year,” she said. “It was cold and had moments of snow – so only the hardcore fisherman turned out. This year, with the weather in the upper 90s in the valley, the beautiful weather probably encouraged folks to get up into the clean mountain air.”
People nearby on the beach at Camp Richardson soaked up rays and enjoyed a temperature that topped out at 78 degrees.
“We got here on Thursday and nobody was here, come Friday night everybody poured in,” said Donna Snell, of West Covina, Calif., who came here with a church group. Snell has been parasailing, horseback riding and camping since she arrived. Sunday she planned to leave the beach, rent a boat and fish the lake. Her advice on how to have a good time hinges on pitching a tent.
“Don’t spend so much money by camping and then you have money for all the other activities.”
The weekend was rounded out with a “Divas of the Lake,” a concert at Zephyr Cove Resort, the state finals for Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Pageant at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, a rooftop party at Harveys Casino Resort and a large fireworks show launched over the lake.
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After a dry couple of weeks, the storm door may finally be opening.