A Message of Thanks from the Derby Chairman

John Custer Welcome back. Once again, as we do each September on the Vineyard, we set our clocks to Derby time. For these five weeks, the event becomes a priority for many. The Derby has grown in a number of ways, yet still is largely anchored by the values it was established on in 1946. On behalf of the Derby Committee, thank you for participating and supporting our efforts to put on a successful event.

Often, when thinking about the Derby, one first considers fish and fishing. This is natural and understandable. More and more, however, I am struck by how much the event is really about people. When I listen to participants share stories about their fishing partners, the Weigh Station staff, or new friends they've met through the Derby, it reinforces just how much this event means to people. It means a lot to me as well. I was honored when asked to join the Committee in 1999. As Chairman, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of this event on people's lives. It is sometimes difficult to describe - you just have to experience it. Personally, I have made many friends directly because of the Derby. More than the fishing, that aspect allows me to appreciate what the Derby is about.

Being part of a group that strengthens our community is gratifying. The Derby scholarships, the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge, and the support provided to youth organizations give clear reminders about why the Derby is so important. Your participation enables this commitment. So does the incredible support from the companies that sponsor the Derby. Clay Subaru has demonstrated this for many years, and we are grateful. Cape Codder Boats joins us this year, and we appreciate their partnership.

Remember to read your Rules Brochure carefully, paying close attention to minimum sizes and fishing boundaries. Be aware that Derby rules for flyrodders are posted on our website at www.mvderby.com. Our rules are written to ensure that the event is fair and enjoyable for all. Please be respectful of our island beaches and waters. When releasing fish, please do so carefully. Most importantly, practice safety and good sportsmanship.

This year, make Derby time special. Help out a fellow angler. Encourage a kid to fish. Appreciate the opportunity to go fishing, even if you don't catch. Remember what the Derby is truly about. I hope your time on the water is enjoyable. Catch 'em up!

Sincerely, John Custer
Chairman, Derby Committee