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Rotary Derby draws a crowd

Derrick Ellingson of Moorhead carries his 1.62-pound northern to the Poles 'N Holes weigh station Saturday afternoon.1 / 2
Kyle Erickson helps his son, Gunnar, 8, with a slippery northern during Saturday's Poles 'N Holes fishing derby. The fish weighed 1.28-pounds.2 / 2

When Shane Lundon of Callaway set out to go ice fishing in the Poles 'N Holes Fishing Derby Saturday, he thought it'd be just like all the others.

"I've fished several of these tournaments, and not once had I caught a fish -- not once," he said.

But Lundon's streak of bad luck came to an end when he caught a 2.93-pound northern on the north side of Little Detroit Lake.

"I still didn't think I had a chance at winning, though," said Lundon, "I figured it was way too small."

He figured wrong.

As the minutes ticked away from the three-hour fishing tournament, nobody could seem to catch anything bigger than Lundon's fish.

It appeared the frigid weather and the many times he had been "skunked" in the past was well worth the wait.

Lundon was not only handed the trophy, but the option of taking a two-year lease on a 2012 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 pickup or $10,000.

"I figured I already had a decent pickup, so I took the money," said Lundon, who called his wife, Wendy with the news.

"And I was like, 'yeah, right,'" said Wendy Lundon. "He's such a jokester, so I told him I'd believe it when I saw it."

Lundon made a believer out of his wife, when he showed her the check later that night -- after a little much-earned celebration, of course.

"I don't know what I'll do with it," said Lundon of the money, "I suppose pay off a couple of bills and put the rest in savings."

The derby wasn't just a lucky one for Lundon, but there was roughly $30,000 worth of prizes given away for the 30 biggest fish.

Among the many prizes were vexilars, ice augers, portable fish houses, a four wheeler and cash.

A Breakfast Rotary event, Poles 'N Holes was only in its second year, but saw tremendous support from community sponsors, according to Rotary member Terry Haus.

"It's the kind of thing that as it grows, will continue to draw people in from further away into DL, which is so good economy-wise," said Haus, adding that the cold, windy conditions this year may have hampered the event a bit.

But although temperatures started out below zero and the wind made it feel even colder, anglers still showed up -- and they didn't arrive alone.

"I couldn't believe all the kids that came," said Haus. "It was amazing -- they were all bundled up so that all you could see were eyes," he laughed.

The derby was in the same location as last year -- across from Rossman Avenue -- but it was moved out slightly onto the deeper water.

Even so, Haus says it's always a little tougher to catch the big ones when a cold front comes through.

"But things like this just provide an opportunity for families and everyone to get together and do stuff."

Rotary members don't yet know how much the event raised, but they do know the money will go to all their children's programming and to get the third annual Poles 'N Holes going for next year.