2022 Royalty 

All hail Queen Laurie & King Joe Prax

Joe and Laurie Prax put down roots and raised their kids in Valdez while working at their respective businesses. The couple owns Prospector Outfitters in Valdez and Fairbanks and NorthWave Communications/KVAK in Valdez. Joe’s family moved from Minnesota to Fairbanks when he was just two years old and he met Laurie when he went to college at Chico State. Joe graduated from Chico State with a degree in business and Laurie has a degree in Communications and a minor in International Relations. After graduation, and a short stint working in the San Francisco Bay Area for Laurie, the couple settled in Valdez where Joe went into the family sporting goods business. In 1996 the couple bought the local AM radio station and in 2001, they built KVAK FM.


Joe and Laurie have three children. Justin is 21-years old and will be a senior at Idaho State University this Fall, Marianne is 19 and attends Missouri State University in Springfield and Kelsey will be a sophomore at Valdez High School. Joe and Laurie have enjoyed volunteering in town. Joe has been a WESC board member, Boy Scout Leader, Little League baseball coach, City Council member and is currently an active member of the Fly-In Committee and a member of the Valdez School Board. Laurie was the Valdez Junior Achievement coordinator, Little Dribblers Coach, Girl Scout Leader, Basketball Coach at VHS and GMS, President of the Alaska Broadcasters Association and is currently an active member of the International Broadcasters Idea Bank. Both Joe and Laurie sit on the seven-person volunteer committee that runs the Valdez Fish Derbies. Joe has blessed the community by taking pictures of local sports activities and he loves nothing better than a good campfire. When she’s not working, Laurie enjoys playing music and writing songs. Joe and Laurie are thankful to have all their kids and Savannah (Justin’s girlfriend) together in Alaska for Gold Rush Days this summer.

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Past Kings and Queens of Gold Rush

2020/21- Diane & Bobby Gibbs

2019- Laura & Jeff Saxe

2018- Hazel Hill

2017- Shannon Mahoney-Irish & Henry Irish

2016- Sue and Bob Smith

2015- Charlotte and Jim Shepard

2014- Lynne and Larry Michaud

2013 – Donna and Jim Gifford

2012 – Jerri Plaster

2011 – Larry and Meg Weaver

2010– Trudy and Phil Koszarek

2009– Russ and Molly Palmer

2008– Dave and Joanne Winney

2007– John Cerutti and Marie Blood

2006– Mike and Sue Britt

2005– Darwin and Mary Barrie

2004– Dan and Trish Stowe

2003– Donnie and Sue Blackburn

2002- Lori Saylors and Larry Hodges

2001– Lyle and Pat Von Bargen

2000– Lynn and Janese Chrystal

1999– Linda Fleming and Bill Unfer

1998– Walt and Gloria Day

1997– Judy Londo and Princess Krista Cameron

1996– Benny and Joyce James

1995– John and Jane Tongen

1994– Tom and Gloria McAlister

1993– Bert Cottle and Jean Phillips

1992– Fred and Kathy DiNicola

1991– Arch Fry and Dorothy Clifton

1990– Emil and Dorothy Wegner

1989– Clyde and Hallie Draine Ruhl

1988– Harold Williams and Cathlia Seagrove

1987– John and LaRue Rogers

1986– Harmon and Shorty Hall

1985– George and Judy Maykowskyj

1984– Robert and Ann Kelsey

1983– O.L. and Dorothy Crisp

1982– Mac and Sheila MacDonald

1981– Ed and Frances Walker

1980– Harvey and Delores Stellings

1979– Fran and Robert Larson

1978– Monte and Enola Olds

1977– Sid and Edith Moore

1976– Clint “Truck” Egan and Oma Belle Day

1975– Phil and Phyllis Irish

1972– Owen and Joyce Johnson