Bunky Salmon Derby ~ Niagara River ~
►Sorry, this popular contest was discontinued in 2010
This is the latest and the newest salmon fishing 1 day fishing derby
It's called the Fall
Named the "Bunky Derby" in memory of Niagara River Charter Captain Ron Meesig
"Bunky" was Captain Ron's Nickname!
From Sunrise to 2:00 PM
1:00 to 2:00 PM ~
Entry Fee $35.00 per boat
See 2005, 2006 & 2007 results below
lower pavilion near launch ramp at 2:00 PM
Music & Eats by Chef Hilts Jr.
Applications at A-1 Bait or the morning of the competition at the Lewiston Boat Launch.
A Portion of the proceeds will go to the American Brain Tumor Association [ABTA]
Winners and the report will be listed here on this page so bookmark it!
2007 Bunky Derby Winners and report by Bill Hilts Jr. held Sunday October 14 2007
Déjà vu All Over Again For Bunky Derby
By Bill Hilts, Jr.
To quote a famous line from Yogi Berra, it was Déjà vu all over again for the Third Annual Ron Meesig Memorial Fishing Contest - also referred to as The Bunky Derby - held on the lower Niagara River last Sunday. It's funny how things happen sometimes.
Held two weeks later this year, this fun fishing competition isn't really about who catches the biggest fish (although some local captains would argue that point); and it really isn't about how much money they can raise for a most worthy cause (more than $500 was raised this year for the American Brain Tumor Association); it's about getting together, having a good time and remembering a special friend who really loved to fish these local waters.
Connie Adams-Meesig of Lewiston started this event up back in the fall of 2005 to get her friends together and "share some love" in remembering her husband. It was at a time of year when local charter captains were "bonding" on the lower river in pursuit of the king salmon, a profession that "Bunky" shared while on this planet. And this little fishing derby has blossomed into a kind of lower river fellowship that anyone who had knew Ron and participated in it looks forward to each fall. One thing is for sure, no one goes away hungry! This year's menu included a truckload of chicken legs, moose tenderloin, venison sausage, deep fried turkeys, chili, moose burgers (and beef), hot dogs and all the fixin's.
Now the Déjà vu part of the day. Since it's inception, the name of Cinelli has been synonymous with the winners plaque. The first year it was Capt. Joe Cinelli of Grand Island while fishing with Rich Seig of New Jersey. The second year it was Karen Cinelli of Newfane taking the top spot. This year, as luck would have it, it was Capt. Joe Cinelli again in the winner's circle. His fishing partner? Rich Seig of New Jersey, who just happened to be on the boat again taking a charter. They boated a 20.8 pound salmon first thing in the morning in Devil's Hole to take the top prize.
Second place went to Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton with a 20.4 pound king and third place was Capt. Scott Endres of Grand Island with a 19.9 pound salmon. Fourth place was Capt. Eric Elenfeldt of North Tonawanda with an 18.7 pound Chinook, followed by 13 year old Nathan Lapides of Williamsville with a 17.7 pound king. He was fishing with Capt. Mark McGranahan of Tonawanda.
After a bit of coaxing, Connie put this derby together last minute. She wondered whether or not there would be enough help to get everything accomplished. Volunteers came out of the woodwork to help, whether it was to cook, clean or just provide a dish or two to pass. Everyone chipped in to make the event a real success all the way around. Even if you didn't know Ron, you could have listened to some of the stories flying around Lewiston Landing as the chefs cooked moose over charcoal in a brand new propane grill. They couldn't get the new burners to light so they improvised and turned the grill into a charcoal grill! The show must go on!!
Thanks to all who chipped in made this year's Bunky derby a real success.
Posted Monday October 15 2007
2006 Bunky Derby Winners and report by Bill Hilts Jr.
Karen Cinelli Wins Bunky Derby - On a day when the weather forecast was for rain and thunderstorms, but the weather was the complete opposite; a day when the Buffalo Bills were the underdogs, but still managed to squeeze out a victory; a different Cinelli pulled through in the clutch to win the Second Annual Capt. Ron Memorial Fishing Contest - also known as "The Bunky Derby."
Karen Cinelli of Newfane won first place overall when she reeled in a 29 pound, four ounce salmon from Lake Ontario out of Olcott. Rather than fight the weekend congestion in Devil's Hole, Karen, her husband Bob, Eric Bickel and Jason Mannbich of Burt and Newfane respectively headed out into the lake from some late season trolling. While they didn't catch a lot of fish, they did catch some quality salmon. The winner took a J-plug. Karen was the only female fishing the competition and she was inspired when last year's winner, Joe Cinelli of Grand Island, asked Karen if she was going to be in it. When she said that she was, his response was in thanking her for her contribution for his predicted winnings. This time is was Karen winning the $280.
Second place went to Vince Cerrone of Youngstown with a 27 pound, six ounce king from Devil's Hole taken on egg skein. He won $120. It was a glorious day on the river as both fish and weather cooperated. The food was great and the memories were strong as the local fishing community remembered Capt. Ron Meesig who passed away last year. In addition to the camaraderie, a total of $300 was also raised for the American Brain Tumor Association. Connie Adams-Meesig, who organized the event, was extremely thankful for all the participating boats and people who helped cook the food. A great time was had by all and no one walked away hungry.
Winners 2005 "Bunky
Derby" and Report:
By Bill Hilts Jr.
Earlier this year, the Lower Niagara River lost one of its own when Capt. Ron "Bunky" Meesig lost his battle with a brain tumor. Not wanting to let his memory be forgotten, his wife, Connie Adams-Meesig, decided to put together the First Annual Capt. Ron Meesig Memorial Salmon Derby in his honor last Sunday, to have boats compete for the "Bunky" Award. A total of 31 boats competed in this competition.
Capt. Joe Cinelli of Grand Island was the first "Bunky" winner. He was the top gun with a 23.3 pound king. Jeff Tedesco of Lewiston was runnerup with a 22.3 pound Chinook. Cinelli earned $294 plus a plaque; Tedesco $126. Cinelli will have his name engraved on a larger plaque that will be on display at Tin Pan Alley in Lewiston, with the new winner to be added on each year.
A total of $255 was also raised for the American Brain Tumor Association, in Capt. Ron's memory. While it's nice to win a little cash or receive a plaque, this was all secondary to the real intent of the contest - pull the Lower Niagara River fishing community together for a day to remember a good friend. Both family members and friends pulled together for a great outdoor food fest that followed the derby, including barbecued chicken, deep fried turkeys, venison chili, hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and much more in the food department. Throw in some music, some great weather and a portable version of the Buffalo Bills game in the corner of the Lewiston pavilion along the banks of the Lower Niagara River - Ron's second home for his time here on earth - and the day was perfect. It most definitely brought an Irish smile from above.