Honolulu Star Bulletin (8/18/01)
By Ray Pendleton
As I write this column, the winning team in this year's venerable Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament has yet to be decided.
Nevertheless, the tournament's officials have already announced an award winner and the recipient didn't personally even catch a fish.
Big Island charter boat skipper Randy Parker was presented with the coveted HIBT Richard Boone Award at a ceremony in Kailua-Kona last Saturday.
This award is given to the most outstanding charter boat captain from the previous year's tournament, as determined by the various teams that fished aboard his boat.
During their five days of fishing, members of each tournament team are asked to rate the captain and crew on the boats they are assigned to fish aboard.
They fill out daily performance ranking sheets that give point grades, which are then tallied at the end of the tournament. The boat and the captain with the most points wins.
In most years, the point spread between the top rated captains is extremely close, but this year may have set a record.
"The scoring of the top 10 skippers was very close," HIBT founder Peter Fithian said. "Only three-hundredths of a point separated the first- and second-place skippers."
This year marks the third Boone Award win for Parker and his sportfishing boat Huntress. He captured the trophy two years in a row, in 1992 and '93.
With this win, Randy has broken a tie he has had with his older brother Marlin, who had also received the award twice.
Capturing the Boone Award seems to be in keeping with Parker's other recent sportfishing achievements. He was the winner of last year's HIBT Pro-Am tournament and Jody Bright's Firecracker Open, and then followed them up this year by winning the Skins Marlin Derby.
Adding the frosting to his angling cake on July 12, Parker then realized a billfisherman's dream by boating his first grander, a 1,045-pound Pacific blue marlin.
Although Parker is the son of the near-legendary Kona charter captain George Parker, he admits he wasn't always a home on the water.
"I didn't go out with my dad a whole lot because, as a kid, I used to get seasick," Parker said. "Luckily, I've overcome that now."
With regard to the origin of the Boone Award's name, if you can't remember the television western series 'Have Gun, Will Travel,' you may not remember its star Richard Boone.
The show was very popular back in the days of black and white television. It featured a sophisticated gunslinger named Paladin, who used a knight chess piece for a calling card as he rode throughout the West eliminating the bad guys.
Along with being an actor, Boone was an avid angler and an early supporter of the HIBT. When the now world-renowned tournament was in its infancy in the 1950s, Boone used his considerable talent, prestige and determination to promote it and its location on the Kona Coast.
Soon after Boone's death in 1981, the HIBT Board of Governors created the annual award to perpetuate and honor the actor's name.
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