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Two Demo Derby cars collide during Saturday’s derby. A record crowd of more than 2,000 people turned out to watch the derby, according to Water Carnival Admiral Nick Omberg. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Water Carnival flies high

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News Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
Water Carnival flies high
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Thanks to good weather, good planning and hard work by the Detroit Lakes Jaycees, the Northwest Water Carnival has been wildly successful so far, with plenty of fun still to come.


Sunshine and blue skies never hurt at Water Carnival time, co-admiral Nick Omberg said Monday.

“The weather was perfect all week — that helps with everything,” he said.

“It’s been going amazingly,” added co-admiral Tom Winters. “We’ve had great weather, and we had a record turnout for the (demolition) derby.”

Thirty-eight vehicles competed in the demo derby on Saturday and 2,200 people filled the grandstands to watch, Omberg said.

“We couldn’t have had a better night for it, lots of sunshine, lots of fun,” Omberg said.

Curt Zacharias took first place in the full-size car division; Shane Dahring took first in the compact car division and Jeremy Sharp took first in the full-size truck division.

The Norseman Motors team won the “dealership grudge match,” defeating teams from Webber Family Motors and Nereson Chevrolet Cadillac.

The 38 cars a’clanging on Saturday were followed on Sunday by 24 dogs a’leaping at the city beach for the first-ever Pup Plunge.

While most were water-loving breeds like Labrador retrievers, there were dogs of all shapes and sizes participating, and about 200 humans came out to watch the fun.

J&K Marina added a short dock to its long dock, and the pets jumped after their favorite water toy. The length of the jump was measured against a rope marked off every foot with colored “noodle” floaties.

Each dog got two jumps — three jumps when a tiebreaker was needed. The shortest jump was four feet. The longest jump was 20 feet, from the edge of the dock to the spot where the back legs of the winning dog hit the water.

His name is Drake, by the way, and he’s a chocolate lab owned by Tim Pazdernik of Detroit Lakes.

The water-walking balls were a huge hit with kids again, who walked around in what looked like giant hamster balls in a big pool of water set up just north of the Pavilion.

“They loved it,” Omberg said.

There was also face-painting, a family picnic, old-fashioned kids’ games, sandcastle-building, a treasure dig and more.

“There were 15 events that day we packed into five hours,” Omberg said. “Lots of kids showed up. Everything we do during the week is very weather-dependent. We couldn’t have had a better weekend.”

Ten men put their muscles to the test in the Beast on the Beach competition.

They competed in four categories: The bench press, the log lift, squats and pulling the Jaycees trolley with a rope – no small feat in itself since it weighs about five tons.

The trolley-pull was the only timed category, and all 10 were able to pull it, Omberg said.

The other categories were based on simple reps.

“The bench press was how many times you could bench press your body weight,” Omberg said.

Sam Roberts of Detroit Lakes was the heavy weight champion and Josh Saunders was the light weight champion.

“There was a big crowd for that, too,” Omberg said. “Just as much, if not more, than last year.”

The night golfing event is also starting to catch on, with seven teams competing this year at Lakeview. The glow-in-the-dark golf balls, glow sticks on the pins and glow lights lining the fairways and sand traps put a new spin on the game, said Winters.

“You wouldn’t believe how cool the course looks all lit up like that,” he said. The Lakeshirts team took first in night golfing.

Up next are the water fights, which have traded places with the bed races.

“The water fights have switched to Wednesday (today) this year,” said Winters. “They were normally on Friday night.”

After the bed races in the park near the Pavilion on Friday, he added, “there’s always a party in the park. This year we got The Roosters, they have a good following, and it’s just a free-will donation to show up for that.”

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will play on the beach near the Pavilion Saturday night. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the gate.

“Last year we had 1,500 people down there and this year we’d like to see the same as the derby. Our pre-sales are almost four times as much as last year, so we’re hopeful,” Omberg said. “The Dirt Band caters to a large age group; we were lucky to get them.”

The main event on Sunday, of course, is the Parade of the Northwest, with more than 100 floats. “It’s the longest-standing parade in the state,” Omberg said. “Amy Jacobson has been chair of that for a few years and has it down to a science.”

In fact, all 80 members of the Detroit Lakes Jaycees have been very active in helping with the water carnival, Omberg said.

“Every one of them is involved, everyone is stepping up,” he said.

“The participation from the Jaycees has been amazing,” Winters said. “It makes our job easier when we have all the help that we have.”