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Lund Mania draws big crowds to New York Mills

Lund Mania was held last Friday in New York Mills, drawing in big crowds in spite of some wet weather. Events included a fishing tournament, parade, free pony rides for kids, a petting zoo, games, the new Boatville Drags and more. Pictured are Kaylee and Kiley Meech, twin daughters of Corrine Meech, enjoying the parade. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS

Despite wet weather last Friday, New York Mills Lund Mania events were well attended. The rain and wind that persisted throughout the morning dwindled down by afternoon, just in time for families to enjoy a free pony ride and petting zoo, the first ever Boatville Drags and a parade.

The day began with the Fourth Annual Lund Mania Fishing Tournament, with 50 teams competing for their chance to win $40,000 worth of prizes. The top 10 teams were announced before the parade. Teams won three Lund boats, a variety of fishing gear, fishing trips, gift certificates and cash.

Chris Roehl and Fred Sanchez, who have been fishing as a team for 15 years, pulled in the most weight - 20.09 pounds of walleye with their six allowed fish. The long time friends from Erhard and Elizabeth, Minn., took home the top prize (a Lund 1675 Impact SS with Mercury 60 ELPT EFI 4 stroke and Shoreland'r trailer), valued at more than $20,000.

Roehl said in an interview afterward that he and Sanchez have competed in five tournaments this summer, but this was their first time at Lund Mania: "We like competition. It's addicting."

Scott Schultz and Chris Peters earned second place with their catch of 19.15 pounds of walleye, winning a $6,000 Lund boat with trailer.

Paul Zarn and Cody Roswick won third place with 18.28 pounds of walleye, winning a $2,900 Lund boat with trailer.

In addition to the announcement of fishing tournament results, a variety of events took place along Centennial Drive on Friday evening.

The first ever Boatville Drags was well attended, with plenty of cheering and laughing among contestants as well as the crowd. Everyone from attorneys to ministers, and bankers to firemen took their turn pedaling the boats down the street in a relay race.

The team from Mills Locker Plant won the traveling trophy, with a narrow finish just ahead of the NY Mills Fire Department.

Whitman Briard, owner of the Locker Plant, hopped in the boat at the end of the first round, and Locker Plant workers Brandon Marsh, Landyn Saewert, Kacee Skoog and Dustin Larson took over the pedaling for the final heats to take home the championship.

The winning boat sponsor, Family Spine Clinic, also received a traveling trophy, and its boat will be on display at the East Otter Tail County Fair.

Though some of the boats experienced mechanical difficulties, NY Mills High School welding teacher Luke Becker and his crew had most of the equipment on site to fix mishaps. One boat had to be hauled to Lund's for a quick weld on a connection, and all but one boat made it through the final rounds.

A lot of businesses participated in the parade this year, and there was high audience turnout. There were 84 floats, five more than last year, and the NY Mills Band marched through twice. In the past, other bands have joined the parade, but they were not present this year.

"Other areas bands had commitments and were not able to make it," said Greg Esala, parade chairperson.

All in all, the parade went well, with plenty of candy, stickers, treats and an occasional T-shirt from Signs Plus being tossed to parade-goers.

For many more photos, see our Lund Mania 2012 photo gallery.