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Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic assists local charities

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For the past 10 years, the community has helped Kraus-Anderson showcase Lake Bemidji and assist local charities through an annual walleye fishing tournament and weekend of activities.

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The Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic returns this weekend and, once again, organizers invite everyone to enjoy the festivities and cheer their favorite anglers.

"One of the reasons we started the tournament 10 years ago was to showcase the resource we have in Lake Bemidji," said Bob Fitzgerald, the tournament coordinator.

"And this has become more than a fishing tournament. It is an opportunity to raise money for charity and give back to the community."

In its first nine years, the event has generated more than $350,000 which has been donated to a variety of local charities. Among the beneficiaries are Fishing Has No Boundaries, Take a Kid Fishing, Let's Go Fishing, the local Scouts, youth hockey, youth baseball, the Special Olympics and the Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries projects.

Many of the charities are represented by volunteers who form the backbone of the tournament's success and longevity.

"We have a committee of about eight people, but literally, there are hundreds of volunteers behind the scenes who transform the tournament into an event," Fitzgerald said.

Because of the volunteer labor officials, have the luxury of paying back 90 percent of the entry fees to the fishermen. That payback, which includes $10,000 for first place, ensures a talented field of anglers.

Among last year's entrants were David Carpenter and Bill Litchke of Grand Rapids who won the tournament. The pair brought to the scale a limit of five walleyes, which weighed 14.54 pounds.

Placing second with 13.22 pounds were Bemidji anglers Duane and Travis Peterson. The father/son tandem has established itself as a perennial favorite and its record within the past three years includes a third in 2007, a title in 2008 and last summer's runner-up finish.

The public is welcome to watch the takeoff 7 a.m. Saturday from the waterfront near Paul and Babe. At 3:30 p.m. the weigh-in begins and, once again, everyone is invited to watch.

"I'd encourage everyone to watch the takeoff," Fitzgerald said. "It's amazing seeing all of those boats head out.

"And the weigh-in is amazing. Every year these guys find the fish and it never ceases to amaze me how well they do no matter what the weather conditions may be."

In addition to the activities centered around fishing, the Walleye Classic features a variety of events geared to the family.

Among the highlights are the boat and float parade along Bemidji Avenue starting at 6 p.m. Friday. And the "Meet and Greet" the anglers fish fry dinner at the waterfront from 6-8 p.m. Friday.

The waterfront also will be alive with action on Saturday as event organizers are offering a food and beverage court, kids' casting contest, dunk tank, the Happy Hopper, obstacle course, air rifles games, face painting, balloon animals and exhibition of dock dogs in action.

Visitors may also test ride Ranger boats courtesy of Corner Sports from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The feedback we receive from the participants is that the Krause-Anderson tournament is professionally run but, even more important, it is an event rather than just a fishing tournament," Fitzgerald said. "That is how we designed it 10 years ago. We wanted a community event with a fishing tournament at its core.

"This is a lot of work to put together but it's also a lot of fun to see everyone enjoying it," Fitzgerald added.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

For the past 10 years, the community has helped Kraus-Anderson showcase Lake Bemidji and assist local charities through an annual walleye fishing tournament and weekend of activities.

The Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic returns this weekend and, once again, organizers invite everyone to enjoy the festivities and cheer their favorite anglers.

"One of the reasons we started the tournament 10 years ago was to showcase the resource we have in Lake Bemidji," said Bob Fitzgerald, the tournament coordinator.

"And this has become more than a fishing tournament. It is an opportunity to raise money for charity and give back to the community."

In its first nine years, the event has generated more than $350,000 which has been donated to a variety of local charities. Among the beneficiaries are Fishing Has No Boundaries, Take a Kid Fishing, Let's Go Fishing, the local Scouts, youth hockey, youth baseball, the Special Olympics and the Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries projects.

Many of the charities are represented by volunteers who form the backbone of the tournament's success and longevity.

"We have a committee of about eight people, but literally, there are hundreds of volunteers behind the scenes who transform the tournament into an event," Fitzgerald said.

Because of the volunteer labor officials, have the luxury of paying back 90 percent of the entry fees to the fishermen. That payback, which includes $10,000 for first place, ensures a talented field of anglers.

Among last year's entrants were David Carpenter and Bill Litchke of Grand Rapids who won the tournament. The pair brought to the scale a limit of five walleyes, which weighed 14.54 pounds.

Placing second with 13.22 pounds were Bemidji anglers Duane and Travis Peterson. The father/son tandem has established itself as a perennial favorite and its record within the past three years includes a third in 2007, a title in 2008 and last summer's runner-up finish.

The public is welcome to watch the takeoff 7 a.m. Saturday from the waterfront near Paul and Babe. At 3:30 p.m. the weigh-in begins and, once again, everyone is invited to watch.

"I'd encourage everyone to watch the takeoff," Fitzgerald said. "It's amazing seeing all of those boats head out.

"And the weigh-in is amazing. Every year these guys find the fish and it never ceases to amaze me how well they do no matter what the weather conditions may be."

In addition to the activities centered around fishing, the Walleye Classic features a variety of events geared to the family.

Among the highlights are the boat and float parade along Bemidji Avenue starting at 6 p.m. Friday. And the "Meet and Greet" the anglers fish fry dinner at the waterfront from 6-8 p.m. Friday.

The waterfront also will be alive with action on Saturday as event organizers are offering a food and beverage court, kids' casting contest, dunk tank, the Happy Hopper, obstacle course, air rifles games, face painting, balloon animals and exhibition of dock dogs in action.

Visitors may also test ride Ranger boats courtesy of Corner Sports from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The feedback we receive from the participants is that the Krause-Anderson tournament is professionally run but, even more important, it is an event rather than just a fishing tournament," Fitzgerald said. "That is how we designed it 10 years ago. We wanted a community event with a fishing tournament at its core.

"This is a lot of work to put together but it's also a lot of fun to see everyone enjoying it," Fitzgerald added.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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pmiller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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