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Nearly 10,000 people descended on Minnesota‘s frozen Gull Lake on Saturday wearing their warmest hats and winter coats to compete in this year’s Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
The annual event offered the thousands of anglers and their friends and family members the chance to win several grand prizes, including the Catch of the Day Prize Giveaway and a Random Drawing Raffle.
This year’s winners included Cody Sablatura, who traveled to the event all the way from Corpus Christi, Texas and managed to reel in a 9.15lb Northern Pike; followed by Troy Vetsch from Minnesota, who caught a 4.98lb Walleye; and Tyler Paul Herickhoff, also of Minnesota, who caught a 4.77lb Walleye.
All of the proceeds from the annual ice fishing tournament, which has been featured in National Geographic, NBC Nightly News and even ESPN, go to local charities in the area.
One lucky woman showed off her fish as she waited for the weigh-in during the 32nd annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Saturday
Anglers donned their warmest winter gear for the annual event as temperatures reached a high of 25 degrees.
Kate Spangler showed off her 4.47 pound walleye after it was weighed at the extravaganza
Each angler and their family and friends found their own place to ice fish
An angler arrived for the 32nd annual ice fishing extravaganza on Gull Lake with his ice fishing gear in tow
Nearly 10,000 anglers were expected to participate in this year’s tournament on Saturday
One angler donned all orange as he waited patiently for a fish to catch his bait under the frozen lake
One man watched the score board for the running tally of the largest fish caught during the tournament
An angler stood next to a flag with elements of both the American and Confederate flags as he carried an iron rod to open an ice hole in the frozen lake
A man put the fish he caught into a bag in preparation for the weigh-in
Some anglers expressed their political support at the annual charitable tradition
Fishermen celebrated at the annual tournament, warming themselves up with alcohol
One man reeled in a small fish after sitting patiently in his fold-up beach chair
Zane Schultz used the opportunity to propose to Courtney Johnson, who said ‘Yes’
The happy couple celebrated their engagement with a bottle of champagne
Many of the participants at the event wore fur hats to keep warm in the freezing temperatures
The annual Minnesota tradition began in 1991, when the Brainerd Jaycees decided to create a project that would rally members and volunteers, provide opportunities for individual leadership and bring an economic boon to the region.
Every year it draws thousands of participants, and takes nearly 50,000 volunteer hours over the course of nine months to plan and execute.
Since its inception 32 years ago, the extravaganza has donated over $4.2 million to about 50 area charities. It is now billed as the largest charitable ice fishing tournament in the world.
Anglers lined up to collect their prizes during the 32nd annual Brainerd Jayees Ice Fishing Extravaganza
Tucker Welch ice fished in a unique deer hat at Gull Lake on Saturday
Fishermen headed off to find their space on the ice on Saturday morning
Some fishermen rode a shuttle on the ice to travel further down the frozen lake
Many fishermen brought their friend and family along for the annual extravaganza
Each of the fish had to be checked-in and weighed at the end of the day
One woman spread a blanket over her legs as she waited for a fish to catch the bait
An angler held up his fish for all to see as he waited for the weigh-in
Fishermen headed off to the ice to find the perfect ice fishing spot on Gull Lake
Anglers and their families crowded a shuttle on the ice for the competition
One woman smiled as she waited to catch a fish in the freezing weather
Fishermen prepared for the start of the annual tradition in their own spaces
A volunteer released a fish back into the lake after it was weighed during the tournament
Fishermen waited patiently to see who would win this year’s tournament
Some women played a modified version of beer pong as they waited to compete
The largest fish caught at the tournament weighed 9.15lbs
One fishermen donned a unique fish hat as he waited for the shuttle down the ice
Many of the participants seemed well-prepared for this year’s competition with their own gear
After the event was finished, fisherman wheeled their belongings back down the ice
One man sat in the ice and snow as he waited for his fish
Each fish had to be checked-in and weighed for the competition
Competitors donned their warmest clothes in the freezing weather on Saturday