For only the second time in the event’s history, the Park Rapids American Legion's community ice-fishing contest has been cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions.
All fishing prizes will be rolled into the raffle.
Organizer Jerry Benham said the fishing derby was cancelled at a meeting Saturday morning out of concern for public safety. "We curved on the best side of safety,” he said.
While there is 15 inches of ice on Fish Hook Lake, “it’s not all good ice,” Benham explained. “I’m going to say there was maybe 8 inches of good ice and 5, 6, 7 inches of the white stuff. There was a foot of snow – and that’s before we got this 10 inches – so physically, if we could get it plowed, which we couldn’t because we couldn’t get anybody out there because they didn’t want to drive, then it would be flooding and it would be unsafe ice conditions once that water came up through that bad ice.”
Anyone who has already purchased their tickets may return their ticket to the American Legion by the end of the business day Friday, Jan. 31 and receive a refund if they chose not to participate in the raffle.
Tickets are still for sale at the legion and numerous ticket outlets. Visit americanlegionderby.com or call the legion at 732-3360 for more information.
The derby was last called off in 2006 when warm temperatures prevented ice from forming.
Benham anticipates that people will still come to town. “It should be a great weekend for snowmobiling,” he added.
Except for the fishing contest, all other weekend events will go on as planned. Prize drawings will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the legion – and the chances of winning a prize are greater.
“The odds are like one to 34,” Benham said.
Festivities start with the welcome dance at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 at the legion, with music provided by a DJ.
Sons of the American Legion will serve breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. on Feb. 1, followed by a Post 212 auxiliary fundraiser lunch from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Fisherman’s Ball starts at 8 p.m. on Feb. 1, featuring Front Fenders.