Though the wind chill reached 12 degrees below zero Saturday, the arctic air didn’t stop the flock of people Saturday heading to the Brainerd Jaycees’ annual $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
The Jaycees said 9,600 people took their best shot at winning one of 150 prizes, including a new truck, Arctic Cat all-terrain vehicles, Ice Castle fish houses and a number of other ice fishing related prizes. Not one prize is less than $250 in value. The winner of the contest is Nisswa resident Art Karsky.
Contest attendees — ones who have been to the contest before to the ones entering the contest for the first time — said despite the cold weather, they still had fun and would come back again next year.
“It was fun,” 18-year-old Taylor Kunkel of Little Falls said of the contest. It was the first time she attended. “It was cold, but fun.”
The Little Falls Community High School senior decided the week leading up to the contest that she wanted to go with her father, Keith Kunkel, who has gone to the contest every year for the past 12 years, except two.
“I wanted to go to the contest to spend time with my dad and my relatives and to fish,” said Taylor Kunkel, who will be heading off to college next fall and wasn’t sure she would be home to do the contest in 2015.
“I wanted to get a fish to show up my dad. It didn’t happened but I didn’t do any worse than he did.”
When asked if Kunkel would go again, she said she would.
“It was funny, there was this guy who fell off his chair while fishing,” Kunkel said with a smile.
Shawn and Bridget Sellnow of Brainerd fished the event for the first time with a group of friends and family, all who were there for the first time.
“We moved here recently, so we wanted to take in the venture,” said Shawn Sellnow. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Bridget Sellnow said the thing that surprised her the most with the event was all the people.
The couple said they have done a lot of ice fishing since they moved to Brainerd.
In the group with the Sellnows were Paul and Barb Weber of Foley. The Webers received extravaganza tickets from their son for Christmas, so they had to come out to check out the event.
They said it was cold but they were having fun. Paul said he would come again but Barb said she wasn’t sure because of the temperatures.
“It’s pretty cold out here,” said Barb. “If you are not dressed for it you shouldn’t be out here. And I’m still cold.”
Katie and Kevin Thompson of Warroad also were with the Sellnows. They were enjoying themselves.
Kevin Thompson said, “It’s pretty fun. It’s like one big party on the ice.”