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Memorial fishing tournament takes place in Lanesboro

Fri, Feb 21st, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Features

Joe McCabe of Lanesboro, Minn. participates in the 2014 Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament held at the Bass Pond in Lanesboro on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Photo by Amanda McCabe

As snow fell on a chilly winter’s day at the 2014 Memorial Fishing Tournament in Lanesboro, Minn. on Saturday, February 15, all the participants felt was warmth as friends, family, and neighbors of Andrew Kingsbury, Blake Overland, and Matthew Erickson gathered on the ice for the tournament which was dedicated to the three men this year.

The tournament, sponsored by the Root River Saloon, was started six years ago as the Bass Pond Ice Fishing Tournament to give residents a chance to get together during the middle of winter. After the tragic loss of the three Lanesboro graduates in a car accident in Winona, Minn. in January 2014 the organizers decided to dedicate the 2014 tournament to Matthew, Andrew, and Blake. The three friends had participated in the tournament in past years and this was a heartfelt way to bring everyone together to honor and remember the men.

The tournament was held from noon - 2 p.m. with entry fees of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Hundreds of prizes were given out with the largest five prizes handed out to the anglers that caught the largest fish in five different species. A ceremony was held at 4 p.m. at the Root River Saloon to present the top five awards.

One of the organizers of the event, Rob Wagner, stated that 208 adults and 98 children participated in the ice fishing tournament this year, which Rob states “shows how much those kids meant to everyone” and added it was a great event that was well supported by the community. The total amount raised at this year’s tournament is not yet available, but the amount raised comes secondary to bringing a community together at a time of great loss to support one another.

A portion of the money raised from this year’s tournament will be used to start memorial scholarships in the names of Matthew, Blake, and Andrew. Another portion will be given to the Winona County Dive Rescue Team that searched tirelessly until the lost were found. Some of the money raised will also be used to purchase prizes for next year’s tournament.

The Lanesboro High School Senior Class served food and beverages during the fishing tournament to show their support and also as a fundraiser for their senior class trip. Food included brats and hot dogs donated by Jim and Becky Iverson, chips donated by Gil B’s and Sue Moen, bars and cookies furnished by students, and pop donated by BP. According to Senior Class Advisor John Smith the class sold approximately 175 brats and hot dogs. The senior class also held a raffle for prizes to raise additional funds.

Amanda McCabe, who attended the tournament with her husband, Joe, and their son Trayton, age 5, said, “It was a great turnout for the Memorial Tournament,” and stated, “It was nice to see so many friends and families fishing together.” Amanda added that even though the weather was cold and windy, it didn’t stop people from venturing out to remember three amazing guys and support such a great cause, which is a sentiment that resonated throughout the crowd.

Rob Wagner said that he and the rest of the organizing committee would like to thank everyone who donated to and participated in the ice fishing tournament in any way and would especially like to thank Matthew, Blake, and Andrew’s families who spent the entire day at the tournament.

Organizers of this year’s tournament were Rob and Ellen Wagner, Scott and Karla Strom, Erik and Laurie Overland, Brad and Rita Kelly, and Jim and Becky Iverson.

The day held difficult moments for those in attendance, explained Rob Wagner, but mostly it was a celebration. A celebration of three great men who left lasting memories with so many who knew and loved them.

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