Today’s post is from guest blogger David Tra, our Discovery Channel Digital Publicist, who recently spent the weekend in Seattle for two very special Deadliest Catch-related events.
As the month of May neared, we packed up our gear and hauled across the country to Seattle for a pair of events centered around Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. On Friday, April 30, we honored the late Captain Phil Harris with a public memorial service, which was followed by CatchCon 2010 on Saturday, May 1.
On a chilly and windy evening at Smith Cove Pier 91, family, friends and fans all gathered to remember Captain Phil. This was the first opportunity for the public to pay their respects to Phil, who passed away in February, and his family. The audience was greeted by his sons Josh and Jake Harris, and then listened as a few of his closest friends recounted their memories of the iconic captain. Deadliest Catch Executive Producer Thom Beers closed the event with his fond memories of Phil for those in attendance, along with more that 40,000 viewers watching live on USTREAM. It was a touching ceremony that allowed friends and fans both at the pier and at home to say goodbye to our beloved Captain Phil.
On Saturday, CatchCon 2010 brought the ultimate Deadliest Catch fan experience back to Seattle for its second consecutive year. Fans from around the world assembled to meet the captains and crewmembers, coming from as far as Norway and Netherlands. This was my first CatchCon experience and, even though I was working, I was able to get in on the fun: playing games, touring the boats, and getting an inside take on everything Deadliest Catch. In true fisherman fashion, both the Captains’ and Crew Panels were full of hilarious jokes and bleep-able moments. Fans at home joined the action as well, as the CatchCon USTREAM webcast reached more than 30,000 fans.
The one thing that surprised me the most about the captains and crew was how generous they are to their fans. From a behind-the-scenes perspective, the captains were on a tight schedule and we had to keep things moving at all times. However, no matter how late we were to the next scheduled event, I would turn around and see Captain Keith Colburn sign a poster or Captain Sig Hansen stop to chat with fans. It just was not something I was expecting from the hard-nosed fishermen I know from TV. Even during the autograph signing session, I was told that there would be no photography because it would slow things down. Minutes later, I noticed Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand posing for photos while signing autographs—multitasking to make sure that they could accommodate everyone in line. Anyone looking on could tell exactly how much these guys appreciate their fans.
Afterwards, I was sad to leave Seattle, but I am crossing my fingers for a return trip for CatchCon 2011. Below, you will find links to video from Captain Phil’s memorial and CatchCon. Deadliest Catch airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm ET/PT in the U.S. on Discovery Channel. You can also follow the show on Twitter at @DeadliestCatch for news and information throughout the week.