LIBERTY — Crowds of people came together Feb. 19 to honor the memory of Riley Boulay, a Mount View High School junior who passed away in 2017 at the age of 16.

Luke and Jackie Boulay, parents of Riley, at the 2022 Riley’s Wish event at Lake St. George Photo by Cali Warren

The fifth annual Riley’s Wish Winter Games & Derby event was held at its usual Lake St. George location. From the morning into the afternoon, individuals braved the cold to support the fundraiser that provides scholarships for technical education students. The event took place during Free Fishing Weekend, so everyone could participate in the ice fishing event.

Riley was a junior enrolled in the electrical trades program at Waldo County Technical Center. After his passing, his parents started a memorial scholarship in his honor. Riley’s Wish Winter Games & Derby is held to raise funds toward the $5,000 goal that provides financial aid to students at WCTC.

Every year, the scholarship fund awards $2,000 to a Mount View High School senior, and $1,000 to one Belfast Area High School and one Searsport District High School senior. After the sale of raffle and derby tickets, sweatshirts and community donations, over $5,500 was raised this year to support scholarship efforts.

Evan Fountain, left, and Ashton Reynolds, cornhole winners at Riley’s Wish Feb. 19. Courtesy of Tammy Reynolds

Due to the pandemic, last year’s event was modified with masks, and there was no access to the state park or warming stations as in past years. While masks weren’t a concern at this year’s derby, Jackie Boulay, Riley’s mother, explained that the restrictions were “kind of the same this year.” The turnout was still impressive — Boulay said “people are just happy to get out” to enjoy a day of fun, fresh air and, of course, ice fishing.

A cornhole tournament took place at noon, and the winners were Evan Fountain and Ashton Reynolds. There was no winner for the largest bass or largest trout prizes, as none were caught, but four fish were entered in the contest.

Over $1,900 in prizes was handed out to lucky participants who entered the derby or purchased raffle tickets. The grand prize was $500 in cash; other prizes included a custom cornhole set designed by Riley’s father, Luke Boulay, Young’s Lobster Pound gift cards, and handmade spoon baskets.

Braelyn Horton won a prize of $100 cash and a customized Riley’s Wish jack trap for the largest salmon with her catch, which weighed in at 3.24 pounds and measured 24 1/2 inches. Karson and Ryan St. Clair had the biggest trash fish, which weighed 2.6 pounds and was 21 1/2 inches long, and received a $25 cash prize. Miles Fogg caught the smallest legal fish, a prize just for children 12 and under.

Cousins of Riley Boulay pose with a cardboard cutout memorializing him at the Feb. 19 Riley’s Wish event in Liberty. Courtesy of Jackie Boulay

“We look forward to the derby every year,” Jackie Boulay said. “Even with battling the cold and not optimal ice conditions, we have so many people that have come out each year to support us. We are forever grateful for that.”