news that warm weather played a part in 10 large trailers falling through the ice on Big Detroit Lake Saturday has some people looking anxiously ahead to the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
Bob Slaybaugh, one of the Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza organizers, said the ice in the tournament area is about 9-10 inches thick, which is below normal, but with two weeks to go before the tournament he is optimistic.
"We're in good shape," said Slaybaugh, noting rumors of the extravaganza's cancellation were false. "We've been here before with the ice conditions, and we would never run the tournament if it was unsafe."
Ultimately the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department will decide if the ice is safe enough for a contest that could place more than 10,000 people on Hole-in-the-Day Bay.
Sgt. Neal Gaalswyk, Crow Wing County sheriff's boat and water safety supervisor, said the sheriff's department would be look at the ice conditions and make a decision probably later this week.
"It's a concern, especially with ice variability," said Gaalswyk. "If it's 5-8 inches or 8-10 inches we're really going to look at it (the tournament). I wouldn't drive on 5-8 inches of ice, and I don't advise anyone else to do it, either."
In Detroit Lakes, the trailers were set out on the ice for a major snowmobile race. Glen Erlandson, of Erlandson Performance, and snowmobile racing team, said he was surprised the trailers were allowed out on the ice.
"I cannot believe they would've done that," said Erlandson, whose two sons, Chad and Scott, are on the factory Polaris Race Team. "To me, with the weather, this is bad for our sport and they should've known that."
The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza will probably see a record crowd this year, as ticket sales are 10 percent above what they were last year, said Slaybaugh.
Temperatures through next Friday are expected to be in the high 20s and low 30s.
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