Sunday, September 17, Watermen’s Wharf in Solomons, Maryland, was alive as boat captains and their crews from throughout the Chesapeake Bay region battled for cash, prizes, trophies and bragging rights at the 16th Annual Calvert County Watermen’s Festival. With 15 boats competing, there was never a dull moment.
Established in 1975, the goal of the Calvert County Watermen’s Association (CCWA) is to improve water quality ensuring the future harvests of seafood. The association is made up of local commercial watermen, both full- and part-time, who make their livelihood harvesting seafood from local waterways. CCWA lobbies the Maryland General Assembly on behalf of local seafood harvesters on issues. They support efforts to accurately label seafood in markets and restaurants allowing consumers to know where the seafood originated.
Annually the CCWA holds the Watermen’s Festival, with the boat docking contest as the main event. Boat docking is considered a water sport. Work boats and charter boats compete within three divisions – small, medium and large boats. A timed competition, the boats begin at a designated area and at the sound of the horn go to a second area to “lasso” poles while still maintaining control of their boat.
Captains of all ages compete in the competition. The youngest boat captain was Capt. Hayden Hunter, who is 14 years old. There was also a woman’s competition.
Deanna Dove, the Island Girl, performed favorites throughout the day. Deanna is a powerful, earthy singer, who mixes favorites from rock, pop, blues, country and gospel with those songs she has written. Deanna, from Broomes Island, regularly performs in support of public awareness for the preservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. She is a founding member of SoMdCARES, Southern Maryland Citizens Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions.
Beer, delicious food and soft drink sales were available from Capt. Smith’s Seafood and Boomerang’s Original Ribs.
Emceeing the event, and providing a lot of entertainment, was Erik “Flea” Emely. Flea is a part of the Chesapeake Cowboys, a group of watermen that frequently compete in boat docking competitions.
During the final “shoot-out,” where the winner would win more than $2,000 in cash, Flea put out a friendly “bet” to a member of the audience and Kristine Denicourt, Washington, D.C., took him on. If the final time was less than 17.9, he would jump into the harbor – and she would have to jump with him. Capt. Ryan Kastel, No Name, provided a winning time of 17.70 seconds. Flea and Denicourt enjoyed a respite from the hot weather with a cool dip in the Solomons Harbor!
The winners of the 16th Annual Calvert County Watermen’s Festival include:
1st place Crusher, 18.03 seconds
2nd place Heather Nicole II, 18.06 seconds
3rd place No Name (Ryan Kastel), 25.09 seconds
1st place Island Fever, 21.09 seconds
2nd place 38 Special, 23.07 seconds
3rd place Thomas Jaiden, 27.07 seconds
1st place Miss Julie, 21.0 seconds
2nd place Elaina Scott, 21.03 seconds
3rd place Always Late, 24.06 seconds
Junior Winner – Buckwild, Hayden Wilson (14 years old), 27.02
1st place Elaina Scott, 23.0 seconds
2nd place Outlaw, 23.30 seconds
3rd place No Name (Ryan Kastel), 24.10 seconds
Large Elaina Scott, 22.50 seconds
Medium 38 Special, 22.0 seconds
Small No Name (Ryan Kastel), 17.70 seconds
For more information on the following, please visit their websites:
- Calvert County Watermen’s Association, http://www.calvertwatermen.org
- Deanna Dove, the Island Girl, https://www.deannadove.com
- Chesapeake Cowboys, https://www.chesapeakecowboysboatdocking.com
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter