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Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic hosts family events, fundraisers for community

Dave Curb brings his boat to shore to begin the weigh-in process for the line of boats entered into the Kraus Anderson Walleye Tournament on Saturday. See additional story on page A10. Pioneer Photo/Dayna Landgrebe

Families and citizens came to the Lake Bemidji waterfront for food and events at the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic despite the on and off rain on Saturday.

Anglers launched their boats at 7 a.m. and events started at 11 a.m. Kids participated in activities such as face painting, a casting contest, and a trout pound.

Fishing Has No Boundaries members volunteered at the trout pound where kids had five minutes to try and catch a fish.

Keegan Meyer of Bemidji, who has come to the event every year, wasn't as successful as he hoped during his turn. He attributed it to the switch from trout to blue gills this year.

"I don't know if blue gills quite care for corn," Meyer, 11, said.

Other beneficiaries were at the event to raise money for their groups and to volunteer for the day. Special Olympics members sold tickets for a fundraiser to win a new Lund boat.

The Bemidji Lions 13-year-old traveling baseball team worked the dunk tank. Gabe Heifort, 13, sat perched on the dunking chair as his fellow teammates and coach, Shane Claypool, aimed to make the dunk.

Many area families came down to spend a fun afternoon, and others were just passing through.

Abby Hammond held a yellow participant ribbon for the Kid's Casting Contest. She and her parents are from southwest Minnesota and were passing through to a Deer River resort. They make the stop every year.

Cheri Carey and her three kids came to the waterfront for another reason.

"My husband's fishing in the tournament today," Carey said. She and her three kids waited for the return of the anglers as they started to come in around 3 p.m.

Anglers had until 3:30 to return back to the landing. Global positioning systems were used to allow anglers to fish until the last minute, and anglers who returned late would lose half of their caught weight.

Winning the event was the Grand Rapids team of Dave Carpenter and Bill Litchke, converting their 14.54 pounds of walleye into a $10,000 prize. See story on page A10.