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Boats gather in the staging area against the early morning sun prior to the start of the Lund Mania Fishing Tournament held July 3 on Otter Tail Lake. Forty teams competed in this first-ever Catch, Record and Release tournament in Minnesota. The tournament was organized through a joint effort of New York Mills community members, the NYM Civic & Commerce Association and Lund Boats.

Lund Mania Fishing Tournament

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The weekend celebration started out on a high note Thursday evening with the Lund Mania Fishing Tournament rules meeting at City Hall, and none other than Minnesota Twins legend Kent Hrbek was in town to do some fishing.

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For New York Mills area resident Richard Dykhoff not only meeting the legendary Twins first baseman, but getting to be the spotter in Hrbek's boat Friday was the chance of a lifetime. And Dykhoff owes that opportunity to the duece of clubs.

Each team entered in the fishing tournament needed a spotter to sit in the boat and verify fish lengths. The volunteers signed up not knowing which team they would be paired with.

During Thursday's meeting each spotter and each team received a playing card. As the cards were drawn the spotters were assigned to teams.

Dykhoff held the two of clubs. When Hrbek drew the card, the life-long Twins fan couldn't get off the stage quick enough.

Dykhoff was in the boat with Hrbek early Friday as the boats hit Otter Tail Lake for the tournament. The crafty Dykhoff wanted to feel the situation out Friday before asking for any autographs.

He wanted to see what kind of guy Hrbek was first. Dykhoff waited until noon before he asked Hrbek if Dykhoff's grandson could meet them at the end of the dock.

"I told him I waited so long because I wanted to see if he was a jerk or not," Dykhoff said. Hrbek "barrel laughed" when Dykhoff told him that.

Hrbek said meeting Dykhoff's 8-year-old grandson at the dock would be no problem.

"Hrbek is one heckuva guy," Dykhoff said. "I talked to him and what's really neat is he's just a common guy. It was really enjoyable spending the day with him."

And of course, Dykhoff had to ask the question all Twins fans have on their minds.

Did he pull Ron Gant off the bag at first when the Twins beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series?

Hrbek said that's the number one question he gets asked. The answer he gave Dykhoff was no, he did not pull Gant off the bag.

'Blast From the Past' weekend a big success

Organizers of the New York Mills 125th Anniversary "Blast From the Past" Celebration couldn't have ordered better weather for the weekend. With sunny skies above for all three days a steady stream of people made its way in and out of New York Mills.

What a great weekend. The Lund Mania Fishing Tournament was a great success. Local anglers did well as they went head-to-head with the pros.

Andrew Klopak, President of Lund Boat Co., was all smiles as the top 10 teams participated in the Friday evening parade. The winners were announced on stage in a shootout format at the end of the parade.

As the crowd cheered for local teams like Todd Becker and DuWayne Roberts, and Scott Perala and Chad Sonnenberg, weights were announced and

A team of locals - Miles Nelson and Ray Sonnenberg - edged out Lindner and Michelle Trudeau to capture the Lund Mania title. Other notable finishes by locals included Scott Perala and Chad Sonnenberg, who placed fourth.

Later Friday evening, the parade made its way through downtown Mills as hundreds of spectators lined the streets. Close to 100 parade entrants participated. The New York Mills V.F.W. Post 3289 won first prize for their Wall float. St. Peter's Lutheran Church and its combine, as well as Legried's Balhepburn units were chosen honorable mention.

The street dance followed the parade... and what a party it was. With food vendors serving a variety of tasty meals in Central Park, the NYM Lions and Mills Liquors kept the beer flowing all night. The Lions reportedly drained about 16 kegs to the delight of the late-night revelers.

Activities took place throughout the day on Saturday. The Classic Car Show was a big hit as cars of all makes, models, and styles lined both sides of Main Street.

"Down Memory Lane" provided a historical glimpse of Mills over its 125 years. Organized by Rachel Eklund, the program featured business displays, historical accounts, and a program in the auditorium, which among other things honored Russ Jacobson, or as Jack Herr called him, "Mr. Baseball New York Mills."

Downtown Mills was busy all day Saturday. Tom Gerber of the Eagles Cafe on Main reported business was good all day both Friday and Saturday. The 4th of July celebration continued Saturday evening with the annual baseball game between the NY Mills Millers and Bluffton Braves, followed by an impressive fireworks show in Smith Park.

The weekend concluded with a community picnic Sunday in Smith Park. There were bagpipers and a barbershop quartet on hand to provide the musical entertainment. The weather was great and the picnic was well-attended. The Eagles Cafe catered the meal with the help of the Miss NY Mills princesses. About 250 meals were served at the picnic. And to top of the picnic and the weekend, a beard contest was held. Ten entrants showed up to have their beards judged, and Peter Keranen, with his red, white, and blue beard received top honors and bragging rights for the next 25 years.

This was a great celebration from start to finish. Hats off to all those who organized the activities, particularly Rachel Eklund and Duane Koehler. And to those who participated in NY Mills' 125th Anniversary Celebration thanks for the memories, and we'll see you when we see you.

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