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Local angler gets lucky twice at derby

Dacle Schmid Jr. of Park Rapids proudly stands before the 2011 Chevy Colorado truck he won via raffle at last weekend's 13th annual American Legion Community Fishing Contest. Schmid also caught a northern that earned him a $500 cash prize. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

Ticket sales for last weekend's 13th annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest lagged in comparison to average years, yet the enthusiasm of the crowd looking to catch a fish hit record highs.

One such angler was Dacle Schmid Jr. of Park Rapids, who has purchased a ticket for over 13 years, dating back to when the Eagle's Club coordinated the event. However, several of those years were dedicated to helping his boys sell food on the ice to benefit their local Boy Scout troop. And out of all the events he did partake in, Dacle had never caught a fish.

Dacle Schmid Jr. arrives at my house at precisely 6:59 a.m. welcoming my boys aboard his bus that lands at Nevis School District 308 before the school bell rings each weekday.

But this was a weekend.

And as one of his fishing partners, laid face-down on the ice, sighted a nice northern which wouldn't succumb to a waxworm, Dacle did what Dacle does and offered his rod, reel and minnow-tipped hook to his buddy.

After the fish had hit the bait several times without getting hooked, it swam off and the fishing rod was returned to the owner. Dacle proceeded to drop his "still good" minnow down his own hole a mere six-feet away.

As soon as the bait settled, Dacle's bobber began to bounce - then descend.

"This fish was the first one I've caught in over thirteen years of fishing the tournament," says Schmid.

And as he raised the three-inch long perch, his group of pals cheered and jeered simultaneously.

Yet as Dacle's support crew turned back toward their holes, they didn't witness their pal's bobber immediately go under again, or the second largest fish of the tournament landed, at least until it was on the ice.

"Is this one any better?" Dacle sarcastically asked his brother Sam as the group turned to see the 2.88 lb. northern pike.

The official time showed 2 p.m. when the fish emerged from Dacle's hole, with 90 minutes remaining in the event. It was difficult for him to hear the leader-board updates, so his wife, Reinet, consistently called Dacle's cell phone to provide the current status of the northern, walleye and bass division.

The northern held its place in the winner's circle, earning the appreciative angler $500 in cash.

Yet when the tournament concluded and the raffle prizes were awarded, Dacle Schmid Jr. was the first name called--for a 2011 Chevy Colorado truck!

Dacle wasn't sure if it was truly his name announced, so he flipped open his phone to call his wife and double-check. Reinet was already on the line calling him, jubilant that he had won the vehicle.

"Since then, I look at the truck sitting in my garage every morning and still can't believe it's mine," he admits.

When asked, Dacle said he'll fish the contest each year in the future and looks forward to purchasing tickets for his two sons as well.