BEMIDJI -- In nearly two weeks, the Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic will hold its 20th anniversary tournament on the waters of Lake Bemidji.
Canceled last year due to the pandemic, this year’s tournament on Saturday, June 12, is shaping up to be popular, as registration is full and a waitlist has been established. Many returning anglers have already secured their spots for the tournament, which features a special field of 120 teams vying for the top prize of $20,000.
However, organizers said in a release that there are still COVID-19 safety concerns and state guidance to observe, which means participants and spectators can expect some modifications to the upcoming tournament.
First, weigh-ins will be moved to an online, catch-photo-release format. The Tourney Angler smart phone app will be the virtual platform used in the tournament.
“Many of our anglers have used this app in tournaments over the last year,” organizers said in the release. “We encourage all anglers to practice using this app until they are comfortable with it.”
Organizers are also working with appropriate authorities to create an opportunity for spectators to view portions of the tournament at the Lake Bemidji waterfront. As of now, they plan to provide opportunities for anglers’ families, friends and the community to follow the tournament live online on the Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic Facebook page, the release said.
Those wanting to view the tournament online should look for live updates at the times of 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and the awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on June 12.
Due to the recent lifting of restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings, organizers are planning to follow tradition and hold the Friday afternoon Rules Meeting at the Eagles Club. Yet as the tournament will be taking place in a “rapidly-changing environment,” they encourage folks to monitor the official tournament website and Facebook page for additional updates.
To support the tournament, community members can purchase raffle tickets at Northwoods Bait, Lueken’s Village Foods, Ace on the Lake, and Ray’s Marine.