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Father's Day comes early for Weipa Fishing Classic boat winner

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By MATT NICHOLLS

THE number 22 proved to be extremely lucky for dad Jamie Hutton, who celebrated Father’s Day in style when he won a new boat at the Weipa Fishing Classic on Saturday night.

Jamie, who was born on the 22nd, purchased key ring 1722 and was the 22nd person to be drawn into the major prize pool.

The Weipa Fishing Classic normally reserves just 20 places for the major draw, but extended it by three as a surprise on Saturday night after a late influx of donations from sponsors.

“I was so excited just to get into the draw because you know the prizes are all very good, especially once you get into the top 10,” he said on Sunday after playing golf.

“To win the main draw is just a massive thrill for us.”

Jamie and wife Deseray are saving to buy their first house and don’t know if they’ll keep the boat.

“To be honest I don’t know anything about boating. I don’t have a boat licence and I don’t even know the different species,” Jamie said with a laugh.

“I take (son) Jake down to the wharf and we use a hand line but we don’t really do much fishing.

“We won’t rush the decision about the boat but we definitely don’t want to seem ungrateful if we do sell it, because it’s a great prize and we feel really lucky.”

Jamie is a sports and recreation officer at the Western Cape College Residential Campus and those who know him said he was a deserved winner of the main prize.

Often seen refereeing junior soccer or helping out with other sporting events, Jamie capped off a fine weekend watching his Gold Coast Titans secure a spot in the NRL finals.

Amrun worker Shane Johnson was runner-up in the draw and took home the side-by-side ATV.

Local boxing club identity Josh Balodis was third and collected a nice tinny to take up the creeks.

Celeste Fairall won the raffle and picked up a new quad bike.

Weipa Fishing Classic president Aaron Schleich said the 16th annual event had been a massive success and hope the thousands who attended across the three days had enjoyed themselves.

“It was the first time we’ve had a proper event at this new venue and even though we are still improving things all the time, I think it went really well,” he said.

“We had a record-breaking amount of prizes to give away this year, with the prize pool in excess of $200,000.

“When you add it up, more than 100 people walked away with a prize from either the main draw or the random giveaways.”

Mr Schleich said planning was already under way for next year but wanted to take the time to thank the sponsors and volunteers for making the 2021 Weipa Fishing Classic a success.

“So many local businesses just say yes when you ask for support and not all of them have had a great time of it during COVID,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise the sponsors for their contributions, because there is no event without them.”

The event was streamed online and big screens at the venue helped spectators soak in the action.

Stallholders reported good sales, although some believe the event will be better served back in the traditional June timeslot after this year’s Classic was just two weeks after the Weipa Bullride.

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