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Locals lobby to hold Governor's opener in 2012

Dennis Mackedanz and Blake Johnson, co-chairs of a Park Rapids committee working to get the 2012 Governor's Opener in Park Rapids, attended last week-end's opener at Lake Kabetogama and met Governor Tim Pawlenty. (Submitted photo)

While the lakes were busy in Park Rapids last weekend, some traveled to Lake Kabetogama to get a taste of the 62nd annual Governor's Fishing Opener.

Several Park Rapids area representatives made the trip to Kabetogama, including Dennis Mackedanz, Blake Johnson, Katie Magozzi, Butch DeLaHunt and Jason Durham. This group, along with other volunteers, stepped up this spring to work on having Park Rapids host the Governor's Fishing Opener in 2012. The application is due Oct. 1.

"It's a great media event to celebrate and kick off the summer season and to showcase the community," said Magozzi, Park Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The 2011 Governor's Fishing Opener will be in Grand Rapids.

The community doesn't necessarily make money from hosting the opener, Magozzi said. It is estimated that the host community needs to raise between $60,000 and $80,000 in funding. But, to contrast that figure, the community typically gains about $600,000 in media exposure.

"The investment is in the future by introducing our community to the greater public that hasn't even thought about Park Rapids," Magozzi said.

She doesn't think the community will have any difficulty raising the money.

Park Rapids last hosted the event in 1979 and the group of volunteers thinks it's time to bring the event back to the area.

Dennis Mackedanz, co-chair of the committee looking to have the Park Rapids area host the 2012 opener, said last weekend's event was interesting to attend.

"The event itself went very well," he said. "I learned that this is really a media event and about showcasing the community."

Locally, the committee began meeting in March and has identified the areas that will need to be addressed if the Park Rapids area hosts the 2012 opener.

"I know this community can make it work," Mackedanz said.

The committee will continue to meet throughout the summer to prepare an application for the 2012 Governor's Fishing Opener and welcomes anyone who wants to give input and help with the planning.

The next meeting is at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 8 at the C'Mon Inn.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561