Derby Day Success Mild weather brings out the crowds


Mother Nature contributed sunshine and milder than average temperatures to make the 40th Annual Maple Lake Fishing Derby a great success, especially in the number of registered fish. 499 Northerns were registered in the two-hour Derby period, exceeding past years by over 100 fish, according to Greg Thomes, chairman of the Derby committee. “They must have been hungry,” was all Thomes had to say about the unusually high numbers of fish caught. 
Over 5,000 people participated in the varied events throughout the day, despite the fear that delaying the event would hurt attendance.
“We hated to have to postpone for a week,” said Thomes, “but I don’t think overall revenue suffered. Our goal is to pump the money all back into the community and the lake, so that’s important to us.”
The Arctic Plunge, MCd by The Costume Shoppe’s Trish Manuel, AKA Patty Penguin, and Ron Larson from KRWC Radio, an excellent spectator event, as well as another great fundraiser, raised over $3,500.00 for the Maple Lake Fire Department and the MLPOA, thanks in great part to Councilwoman Deb Geyen, who raised over $1000.00 single-handedly. It’s no big deal,” said Geyen. “People were very generous.” 
Back for its second year, the Vintage Snowmobile Show, sponsored by Bottomline Traction Products, Inc. and presented by CentraSota Vintage SledHeads, took to the ice with  about 40 sleds to the delight of local afficionados. “We had more sleds than last year,” said Tony Graham of BottomLine Traction. ”A good turn-out.”
The CentraSota Vintage Sledheads, who hail from the Watertown-Glencoe-Hector area, enjoy participating in Maple Lake’s event. ”We had an excellent turn-out, especially for a non-judges show,” said Jack Speckel, a member of the Vintage Sledheads. “About half the group rode with me to take a tour around the lake perimeter, people seemed to really like that  kind of a parade.”
And although it is not a judged show, each participant receives a dash plaque to commemorate the event- a nice incentive for participants. 
Asked if Speckel and the Vintage Sledheads planned on returning to Maple Lake next year, Speckel remarked, “As long as they want us we’ll be there, and I think it’ll grow every year.” We’re glad to be part of the Maple Lake event.”
The Ice Auger drilling contest gathered about a dozen participants, including an unknown man dressed head to toe in fur who, accompanied by cheers from the onlookers, used only a hand auger to participate in the contest. The three lucky winners of $50 Cabella’s Gift Cards were 1st place: Nate Zurn, Cokato, 2nd place; Greg Raisanen, Cokato and 3rd place; Brett Goelz.
Jim Wedell of Delano, who co-ordinated both the Ice Auger Drilling Contest and the Fishing Klinics For Kids, sends a big thank-you to the nearby Knights of Columbus who stepped up to help with the kids during that segment of the event. “We had about 50-75 participants and could never have done it without help from the KCs,” said Wedell.
Steve Wick of Buffalo and Dan Larkin of Maple Lake were both winners in the Knights of Columbus gun raffle.