Carla Anderson presents Carroll Eby with the first Les Anderson award at the 2nd Annual Les
Anderson Day last week at Soldotna Creek Park.
It was more than a free lunch that drew hundreds to Soldotna Creek Park last Wednesday under cold and cloudy skies; it was respect for the world record king salmon and the man who landed it 21 years ago. Last year in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Les Anderson’s record catch the City of Soldotna designated May 17th as Les Anderson Day and hosted a community barbeque. The event was such a huge success and meant so much to the fishers of the community that the Soldotna Chamber decided to make it an annual event.
“The Soldotna Chamber Board of Directors wanted to honor the man as well as the world famous catch, so we added to the 2006 celebration the Les Anderson Award, with criteria for the award that reflected Les’s character. Traits such as being a dedicated sportsman, mentor, a true and honorable person, helpful to others and the community, forgiving and above all an individual that enjoys life,” said Soldotna Chamber Executive Director Michelle Glaves.
This year’s nominees included Steve Bonebrake, Dr. Nels Anderson, Dave Lowry, Carroll Eby and Ron Rainey, all from Soldotna.
“All these men should feel proud for having been nominated for this award for these are truly great attributes,” added Glaves.
Les’s wife, Carla Anderson, was on hand to present the award to Carroll Eby who was selected to receive the first ever Les Anderson Award.
“Above all Les was a gracious and honorable man and that is what the community has recognized this year in remembering Les and presenting the award to Carroll Eby,” said Carla.
Les’s fishing partner that famous day 21 years ago, Bud Lofstedt, was on hand and recalled that the big fish was just a knife blade away from being cut up and never making it into the record books.
“We had brought it up on the lawn at my house and were ready to cut it up and my daughter came out and said Dad you ought to take it down to the hanger and show it to the pilots and the mechanics, so we put down the knives and took it to the hanger and one of the guys said, ‘Hey you ought to take it down to Soldotna and maybe you’ll win a prize.’ So we finally did and when we got it to Echo Lake Lockers they said if our scales are right that fish just might be the world record, and that’s what it turned out to be,” said Lofstedt.
The Soldotna Chamber served some 400 people last week and before the day was over, were already making plans for the 3rd Annual Les Anderson Day next year.
The day offered a free community BBQ with salmon, burgers, salads, chips and corn on the cob, served up by a volunteer crew that included DMV Director Duane Bannock.
“We had so many restaurants that donated salads, they were all great and very much appreciated. A special thanks to KRSM radio group and the Peninsula Clarion for their sponsorship and contributions. The City of Soldotna was a great help supplying manpower and a great park to host such an event,” added Glaves.
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