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"Deadliest Catch" Star Remembered For Kindness, Not Taking Risks

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Michael Theberge
/
NOAA

LISTEN TO THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW WITH DEXTER WATSON BELOW THE STORY 

A man who appeared on a nationwide cable television show was one of 13 people to die in connection with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 

Tony Lara appeared  as a captain of the Cornelia Marie crab-fishing boat on The Discovery Channel program “The Deadliest Catch.”  Decker Watson is the show’s co-executive producer.  He says Lara came to the boat’s aid after its previous captain, Phil Harris, died.

Watson says, “They needed a captain, or else they were gonna be out of business.  And long-time family friend, and captain, Tony Lara, was the guy who stepped up.  And he was just what they kind of needed at that difficult time, after Phil passed—and he was also a very good friend of Phil—he’d worked on the boat for many years before that, about 10 years in the 90s.”

Watson says Lara was a very kind and generous person.  He adds, despite having a dangerous job and taking part in this year’s Sturgis Rally, he didn’t appear to be a thrill-seeker.

Watson reflects, “There is a lifestyle that goes with fishing.  Most fishermen, well most sailors, I would venture to say, have a very difficult life at sea and then like to cut loose on the land.  And that may not the best thing for our bodies.

"But I think in Tony’s case, I’m not sure if that was a big part of his life.”

Preliminary results on the 50-year-old Lara had not been released as of Tuesday.  He reportedly died in Sturgis over the weekend.  Watson says even though Lara has not appeared on “The Deadliest Catch” in five seasons, there may be an on-air tribute to him this fall.

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Decker Watson, co-executive producer of "The Deadliest Catch," visits with SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt about the life of former ship captain Tony Lara.