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Reeling in the Big One

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Whitefish lake was busy with activity as it was, once again, the place to be for the 22nd year of the annual Billy Beal Classic Ice Fishing Derby, with more then 600 people on the ice Saturday afternoon (March 16).
Many events kept the day filled with excitement as friends and family gathered together to enjoy the nice weather, delicious food, and door prizes while ice fishing on the lake.
“It was a great day that started out at -16, when we started to drill holes and get things set up, and quickly turned into a very beautiful although a little breezy afternoon,” said Billy Beal organizing committee chair Brett Church.
A grand total of 20 pike were caught throughout the day, keeping the delight of who would be the grand prize winner alive in the air.
The $10,000 grand prize winner, Pearce Roberts, reeled in a pike weighing in at 16 lbs.
Valley Lion’s members are currently looking back into derby history but this is believed to be the biggest fish ever caught at a Billy Beal Classic.
In addition to a wide range of prizes, there was a Chinese Auction, sold out 50/50 draw, and awards for youngest fishermen, oldest fishermen and ghost fisher draws.
Xander Bradley won youngest fishermen, Larry Woolgar won oldest fishermen, and Ron Sorell, Gena Hart, and Glenda Pettetier all won ghost fisher draws.
The day was put together by the joint efforts of the Swan River, Bowsman, and Minitonas Lions Club members with all the profits going to the Swan Valley Lions’ Medical Assistance Fund to help local residence with medical related expenses. The day was a win/win for the Valley as a whole.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Church. “I would like to acknowledge everyone who came out and supported the 22nd Annual Billy Beal Classic.”
Fish or no fish, the Billy Beal saw many smiling faces throughout the day, and even, some dancing on the ice.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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