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Park Rapids fishing derby will be raffle-only – Park Rapids Enterprise


The ice fishing portion of the 25th annual Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby has been canceled due to concerns about ice safety.

“Talking to (Hubbard County Sheriff) Cory Aukes, he was pretty set on hitting 15 inches of ice,” said derby coordinator Kasey Krautkremer, “and we did not hit that. Just for safety, it was a decision between me and him. We said it’s not safe to put that many people and vehicles on the ice in that tight of a group.

“He said it’s just not going to happen this year. We ought to raffle everything off for the safety of the people. That’s the most important thing.”

The non-fishing parts of the festivities will go forward as planned, Krautkremer said, beginning with the Sons of the American Legion selling burgers and tots from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 at American Legion Post 212, followed by the welcome dance from 7:30 p.m. to midnight with Rhyme or Reason providing live music.

Meanwhile, starting at 6 p.m., approximately 40 to 50 prizes will be given out from Delaney’s Outdoors, totaling $5,000 in value, with free tickets going to everyone who walks in the door and everyone who buys a drink.

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The 2023 Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby was blessed with clear skies, temperatures in the mid-20s and very little wind.

Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

Events on Saturday, Feb. 3 include the following:

  • A breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. at the post, hosted by the Sons of the American Legion.
  • The Post 212 fundraiser lunch, served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Raffle drawings, starting at 5 p.m. at the post. Fishing prizes will be raffled off as well.
  • The American Legion Fisherman’s Ball from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the post. The band is “DJ & the Atomics.”
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Christian Ingebritson, 11, of Nevis won an ice auger for bringing in the first walleye registered to a kid under 16 in the 2023 American Legion Fishing Derby.

Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

Among the prizes now being raffled off on Saturday night are the cash prizes that were intended for the ticket holders catching the largest 20 fish in each of four divisions, ranging from $100 to $2,500; an Ice Castle fish house from Smokey Hills Outdoor Store; and a $2,000 prize to the seller of the winning Ice Castle ticket.

Besides these ex-fishing prizes, 72 raffle prizes are being given away this year. The grand prize is a Chevy Colorado pickup from Thielen Motors.

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Mother-daughter fishers Becky George, left, of Motley and Julie George of Park Rapids bring in a pair of panfish they caught “just a couple seconds apart,” Julie said, during the 2023 American Legion ice fishing derby on Fish Hook Lake.

Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

Other prizes include the following:

  • Prize bundles and gift cards from sponsoring businesses, ranging from $50 to $1,000 in value.
  • A Polaris ATV and a youth ATV from the American Legion and Up North Power & Sports.
  • Two portable fish houses and a gas grill.
  • A recliner and a custom wood creation.
  • Two golf packages and some overnight hotel or casino stays. 
  • A pair of water skis with rope and an inner tube with towing rope.
  • A pizza oven, a microwave and a cooler.
  • A helmet and sweatshirt, a newspaper subscription, etc.

The value of this year’s prizes totals over $125,000, the same as last year.

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Rick Weme of Osage settles in for a comfortable ice fishing derby last year on Fish Hook Lake.

Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

Regarding the grand prize, Krautkremer said, “In past years, we’ve done a gift certificate for the truck. We did a side-by-side last year. This year we’re actually giving a truck away. There’s a lot of prizes to give away.”

He said they’ve printed 5,000 tickets this year, the same as last year.

Tickets are available at the American Legion (218-732-3360), local bait stores and other businesses throughout the area and beyond. “The best place to get them is at the Legion,” said Krautkremer.

Visit parkrapidsamericanlegion.com for more information, including full fishing contest rules and to view live results during the derby.

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