In the winter of 1990 Ted Lundberg met Bob Slaybaugh at a snowmobile race. The owner of Lundberg's Sewer Service in Motley asked Slaybaugh whether he needed portable toilets for a charity ice fishing contest he heard the Brainerd Jaycees were organizing.
"Bob said, 'Get back to me, I'll let you know,' " Lundberg recalled. "I didn't call him until the day before the contest. He said, 'Bring out 20.' I brought 40 just to be safe. Turns out we needed every one."
You can't have a picnic without potato salad, a party without music or an ice fishing contest without portable toilets. When an expected crowd of 10,000-plus anglers invades Gull Lake on Saturday for the 12th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza, every portable biffy will be in demand. Lundberg has supplied this essential service to every contest.
Thursday afternoon he was back on Gull helping with the setup of 135 portables toilets. Twenty were ready by 2 p.m. and were lined up on Hole-in-the-Day Bay like a platoon of soldiers ready for battle. This year they bear the name "Pillsbury Portables" after Lundberg sold that part of his septic business last year. But he volunteered to help with the setup.
Ted Lundberg provides what no ice fishing event can do without -- toilets
"It's something I look forward to every year," he said.
As Lundberg waited for his partners to bring the second load, Mary Harder, a member of the program staff at Camp Confidence, called to him, "Are these heated toilets?"
"You bet," Lundberg called back with a laugh.
"This has always been a fun contest," he said. "Especially this year. There's hardly any snow and the work is a lot easier."
There have been tough years, however. In 1996, a Thursday night snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow on Gull. When Lundberg showed up at the lake with a load of toilets he found a 12-foot snowbank blocking the access.
"We couldn't get anybody to open it," Lundberg said. "The state didn't even want to come out. I finally found a V-plow that fit my hookup. I can't remember how many runs we made before we broke through. We kept going until the truck was so full of snow we couldn't see. We cleaned it off and kept going."
Lundberg said he will continue to help with the contest as long as his truck holds up. Might he one day actually fish the contest?
"Probably not," he said. "I doubt I'll ever have time."
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